Civil law

In the first instance of ordinary jurisdiction, the Local Court (Amtsgericht AG) handles legal proceedings with a sum in dispute of up to 5.000€. In an exception to this regulation, the competence also extends to, according to section 23 Nr. 2 of the Court's Constitution Act GVG, among other things, disputes about claims in a tenancy; between travelers and publicans; concerning flat owners; because of damage caused by game; which were caused by claims in relation to transfers of land.

Rejection from a nightclub

Stuttgart Higher Regional Court, judgment of 12.12.2011 - 10 U 106/11

The plaintiff is a male Black German. When he wanted to enter a nightclub in Reutlingen on 05.11.2010 he was rejected because there were already "enough black people" in the club. He was supported by BUG during his legal action.

According to § 7 i. V. m. § 1 of the AGG, the comment and rejection of the bouncer is a violation of the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin in connection with discrimination based on gender.

The plaintiff received compensation in the amount of 900.00 EUR.

Denied entry to a nightclub due to male foreigners not being welcome

Hanover court, judgment of 15/08/2013 - 462 C 10744/12

The plaintiff is German of Kurdish origin and wanted to go to a nightclub in Hanover on 14/01/2012. In opinion of the court he was denied entry for the reason that male foreigners were not welcome in the nightclub. He was supported by BUG while taking legal steps.

This treatment constitutes discrimination on grounds of race/ethnicity and gender (multiple discrimination).
The plaintiff received a compensation of 1,000.00 EUR.

In addition, he has a right to demand that such actions will be forborne in the future. In case of an infringement the defendant party will pay a fine of up to 250,000.00 EUR.

Discrimination in access to housing

Higher Regional Court of Cologne, judgment of 19.01.2010 - 25 C 0278/10 and Aachen District Court, judgment of 17.03.2009 - 8 O 449/07

A couple stemming from an African country made an appointment with the property management for visiting an advertised apartment. This showing was supposed to be conducted by the caretaker of the house. The caretaker then rejected the couple saying that the apartment would not be rented to "Negros…uh, black Africans or Turks ...“.  The couple consulted the anti-discrimination office of Aachen and sued the property manager.

Compensation within the scope of § 21 AGG was not possible since the property manager is not the "discriminatory" party according to § 21 section 2 of the AGG. The discriminatory party is the one offering the coveted contractual performance. Concluding a lease contract is an offer provided by the landlord and not by the property manager.

Nevertheless, the property manager had appointed the caretaker to carry out the showing. While carrying out the appointment the caretaker injured the plaintiff’s general right of personality with her statement. This infringing behaviour must be imputed to the landlord and is prohibited according to § 831 section 1 sentence 1 BGB.

The defendant party was sentenced to pay the incurred damage and an equitable remedy in the amount of 2,500.00 EUR each.


Rent increase exclusively targeting Muslim tenants is discriminatory

District Court of Tempelhof-Kreuzberg, judgment of 19.12.2014 - 25 C 357/14

The plaintiff was a Muslim family of Turkish origin. The landlady of the family first increased the rent for all tenants but two months after that she decided to increase the rent again for Turkish and two Arab and Muslim tenants. German and non-Muslim tenants were not affected.

In June 2010, the family concerned asked the landlady to withdraw the second rent increase and claimed their rights on grounds of discrimination. This was dismissed by the landlady, so that the plaintiff had to leave the now unaffordable flat. As the apartment search was unsuccessful, the family asked the landlady for a one-month extension of the lease. The landlady rejected this request and threatened the plaintiff with an eviction order. The landlady was significantly more accommodating towards German tenants in a similar situation. A total of 17 tenants left the housing complex, including 13 people of North African and Turkish migrant background. None of the new tenants had an Arab or Turkish background.

The district court sentenced the defendant party to pay 30,000 euros as compensation. In its judgment, the Court referred to the violation of the civil prohibition of discrimination in the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) and justified the amount of compensation with reference to the EU Racial Equality Directive according to which discrimination must be sanctioned in order to act as a deterrent and therefore to discourage further discrimination.

The case had been supported by the Anti-Discrimination Network Berlin (ADNB).


No access to nightclub for person of colour

District court of Hanover, judgment of 25.11.2015 - 549 C 12993/14

The plaintiff is a German lawyer of Ceylonese descent. On the 13th july of 2014 he was proceeding to a nightclub in Hanover to celebrate the final win of the German football team with friends.
As a person of colour, he was denied entry while his white friends were admitted to the club.

He thus took proceedings against the club for discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin.
On the 25th of November 2015, the court ruled that "the dark complexion of the plaintiff was the reason for the denied entry". The defendant party was sentenced to pay compensation in the amount of 1000€. In addition, the nightclub ought to forbear the refusal of the plaintiff on grounds of his ethnic origin in the future.


Refusal in Admission to the Gym

Civil Court, Aachen, judgment of 15.12.2016 - 104 C 35/16 and Regional Court of Aachen, judgment of the 11.05.2017 - 2 S 26/17

The plaintiff is a national of Sierra-Leone, and since December 2014 he had tried on multiple occasions to be admitted to a gym in Aachen. The refusal was justified by the operator of the gym with a ‘freeze on admission’. At the same time however white German nationals could easily apply for and be granted a membership. At a later stage, the defendant stated that an admission "on the basis of the bad payment of male members with a migration background" is only possible with advance payment of an annual amount.

The person concerned then filed a complaint against the fitness instructors for reasons of origin and gender discrimination.

The District Court of Aachen ruled in the first instance in favor of the plaintiff and awarded him a compensation of €500. Referring to the preventive function of compensation funds provided for by the AGG, the plaintiff successfully appealed, so that the District Court of Aachen, in the second instance, imposed a compensation of €2500. The court justified this with the deliberate discrimination of the defendant and pointed to the deterrent effect of the compensation.

© Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung e.V. 2011