KLM loses discrimination case; Forced woman to move from Orthodox man

Dutch airline KLM discriminated against a woman by moving her to another seat when an Orthodox Jewish man refused to sit next to her, the Board for Human Rights ruled in a case filed by SP parliamentarian Ronald van Raak. The woman discriminated against is his wife, AD reports.

In May last year, Van Raak and his wife were on a flight from New York to Amsterdam. His wife was assigned a seat next to an Orthodox Jewish man, who refused to sit next to her because she is a woman. In order for the flight to continue, Van Raak and his wife had to sit elsewhere.

According to the human rights watchdog, KLM should have moved the perpetrator of discrimination, not the victim. By making the woman move, KLM made a “prohibited distinction” on basis of gender, the Board ruled. The airline must make clear to its staff that this is not allowed.

Van Raak told AD that he is satisfied with the ruling. “It is in public interest that every woman must be able to count on not being discriminated against on a KLM flight,” the parliamentarian said.