The district court of Ingolstadt has dismissed a lawsuit against a guideline for gender-fair language at Audi AG. An employee of the parent company VW, who has to work with Audi colleagues, had sued the Ingolstadt car manufacturer for an injunction. He was bothered by the fact that the Audi employees used gender forms with an underscore (“employees”) when communicating with him because of the guidelines.

As the civil chamber decided on Friday, the plaintiff has no right to injunctive relief. The presiding judge Christoph Hellerbrand emphasized that the VW employee is not obliged to actively use the guide because it is only aimed at Audi employees. The plaintiff announced that he now wants to review the verdict with his lawyers. “I explicitly do not rule out that there are further steps,” he said of possible legal remedies.

E-mobility, transport policy and future mobility: the briefing on transport and smart mobility. For decision makers

At the oral hearing in June, an amicable agreement had already 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.

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.