The disparagement of an employee because of his or her East German origin does not constitute discrimination within the meaning of Section 1 of the General Equal Treatment Act on the grounds of ethnic origin or world view.
This was decided by the Berlin Labor Court.
The plaintiff was employed by a newspaper publisher as a deputy department head. He filed a claim against the employer for compensation, damages and pain and suffering because he had been stigmatized and humiliated by two superior employees because of his East German origin.
The labor court dismissed the action. The plaintiff was not entitled to compensation under the AGG because he had not been discriminated against on the basis of his ethnic origin or ideology. People of East German origin are not members of an ethnic group or bearers of a uniform worldview.
The Labor Court rejected a claim for damages due to an injury to personality or health because the plaintiff had failed to draw the employer’s attention in good time to the conduct of his superiors and the risk of unusually high damages – approximately EUR 800,000.00 were in dispute. The plaintiff’s contributory negligence in the damage – once assumed – is so serious that the employer is not liable to pay compensation.
The judgment may be appealed to the Berlin-Brandenburg Regional Labor Court.