Front of an A6 TDI diesel model of German car manufacturer Audi is pictured at a car wash in Hanau, Germany, October 16, 2018. German premium car brand Audi, a division of Volkswagen, said it was fined 800 million euros ($927.12 million) for violations tied to six and eight-cylinder Diesel engines which did not conform to anti-pollution standards. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

In the process of gender-equitable language at Audi, the Ingolstadt district court wants to announce a decision on Friday (8.30 a.m.). An employee of the parent company VW, who has to work with Audi colleagues, had sued the Ingolstadt car manufacturer for an injunction. The plaintiff sees his general personal rights violated by Audi’s gender guidelines.

At the oral hearing in June, an amicable agreement failed. The lawyers for Audi AG refused to remove the gender forms from all emails to the VW process manager and the accompanying attachments. They said this was impractical.

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The carmaker issued a company policy on gender language last year. “From now on, Audi would like to make gender-sensitive formulations ubiquitous in internal and external written Audi communication,” the company explained in March 2021. This is a sign of equality and should better reflect gender diversity.

The plaintiff is bothered by the fact that since then gender forms such as the underscore (“employees”) have been used in communication with him. His lawyer Dirk Giesen emphasized that the plaintiff “would like to be left alone with this gender language”. The use prescribed in the guide leads to new discrimination and violates his personal rights. According to the plaintiff, Audi should be obliged to stop sending him e-mails, e-mail attachments and presentations with these so-called gender gaps – and pay 100,000 euros in the event of violations.

The presiding judge Christoph Hellerbrand summed up the plaintiff’s request for an injunction as follows: “The gender gap has to go.” However, the judge emphasized that there would be no fundamental judgment. It’s just a case-by-case basis.