Saicha case – ethnic origin discrimination

2008 / 01 / 01 Tags:

„The employers were not interested in who I was, they made their decision [not to employ me] after just taking a look at me. I hope that this judgment will allow my nation to find jobs. This is a proof that we all can move forward” 

– Plaintiff S.M.

Proceedings initiated: 2007

Proceedings closed: 2008

Case in brief: a Roma woman was not employed as a dishwasher due to her ethnic origin

Outcome of the case: the employer discriminated the plaintiff on the ground of her ethnic origin and was ordered to pay her damages

Facts of the case:

The applicant Mrs S.M. is a Roma woman. In the autumn of 2007, Mrs S.M. applied for a job – a dish-washer position in a café runned by a private company “Disona”. After an interview, Mrs S.M. was not accepted for the position despite the fact that on the phone she was re-assured that the café was indeed looking for a dish washer.

Following the unsuccessful job interview, HRMI for the first time in Lithuania applied a testing method which is a common practice in other European countries and which helps finding out the discrimination fact: upon HRMI request the bailiff called the café to ask if the dish washer position was still vacant. The answer given was positive. Later the same day Lithuanian woman applied for the same position in the same café. She was hired immediately. During the interview the administrator of the café said that “a gypsy women came today as well, however since she was gypsy she was not accepted”.

Legal proceedings:

HRMI Legal Director Jolanta Samuolyte with the plaintiff S.M. outside the entrance to the court building © 15.min

Mrs S.M. addressed Vilnius District Court claiming the direct discrimination on a ground of ethnicity. On  30 June 2008, Vilnius District Court acknowledged the fact of direct discrimination on a ground of ethnicity when seeking a job and ordered the defendant company “Disona” to pay 250 EUR of pecuniary and 580 EUR of non-pecuniary damages. The defendant appealed the ruling, however, Vilnius regional court did not uphold the appeal.

Final judgment:

Judgment of the Vilnius regional court (in Lithuanian)