The Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt has obligated Deutsche Bahn (DB) to ensure that customers are addressed in a gender-neutral manner when booking tickets online from January 2023. A person who is neither female nor male had complained.
The court ruled on Tuesday that from January 1, 2023, the railway company would have to refrain from “discriminating against the plaintiff of non-binary gender by requiring them to use the company’s offers to be addressed as Mr. or Ms.” .
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Since the online booking system is not only aimed at the person complaining, the railways must now switch it over, as a spokeswoman for the Higher Regional Court (OLG) explained. Because this necessitates a technical conversion, the railway was given a deadline of up to the end of the year. The Higher Regional Court judgment is not contestable
According to the decision, individual communication with the plaintiff must be changed immediately. The Higher Regional Court also awarded the plaintiff compensation of EUR 1,000.
The court reasoned that the plaintiff suffered non-material damage as a result of the violation of the ban on discrimination. She experiences “the attribution of masculinity” on the part of the defendant as an attack on her own person, which leads to significant mental stress.
The specific case involved booking a Deutsche Bahn ticket from Berlin to Braunschweig via the Internet. Both when registering and when purchasing, there was only the choice of “Mr.” or “Ms.” Without this assignment, a ticket purchase was not possible.
The person of the non-binary gender, addressed as “Mr.”, had subsequently filed a complaint of discrimination. The Frankfurt Regional Court had upheld the content of the complaint in the first instance, but refused compensation.