According to a ruling by the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court, from 2023 Deutsche Bahn must ensure that customers are addressed in a gender-neutral manner when booking tickets online.

The Frankfurt Higher Regional Court decided that Deutsche Bahn must guarantee gender-neutral addressing when booking tickets from 2023.

Frankfurt am Main – When purchasing a ticket for the German train on the Internet, the company requires the salutation “Mr.” or “Mrs.” For people who do not identify with either gender, there is no choice. The railways will have to change that soon after a court ruling.

According to a ruling by the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court, from 2023 Deutsche Bahn must ensure that customers are addressed in a gender-neutral manner when booking tickets online. © Moritz Frankenberg/dpa

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 be addressed as Mr. or Ms. when using the company’s offers.” .

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

Deutsche Bahn: Full trains in NRW because of the 9-euro ticket
Deutsche Bahn
Deutsche Bahn: Full trains in NRW because of the 9-euro ticket

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 oneself, 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 “Mrs.” Without this assignment, a ticket purchase was not possible.

The person of the non-binary gender addressed as “Mr.” subsequently filed a complaint of discrimination. The Frankfurt Regional Court had upheld the content of the complaint in the first instance, but refused compensation.

The managing director of the Office for the Implementation of Equal Treatment, Vera Egenberger, commented on the OLG ruling: “The fact that the court is now recognizing compensation is logical and will hopefully mean that DB will not wait until the end of 2023 to convert its website, but as of Court now required by January 1st, 2023 at the latest, otherwise there is a risk of a high fine.”

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