Service station pays out for Roma discrimination

The owner of a Swedish petrol station has been ordered to compensate a Roma woman after an employee asked her to pay for her petrol in advance.

During the incident in October 2009, the woman was told that the garage in Orebro, eastern Sweden, had suffered, “problems with the Roma in the past”.

The Orebro District Court originally ruled against the woman, but the verdict was overturned on Wednesday 5th October by an appeals court. It concluded that the petrol station acted in a discriminatory manner by deviating from the normal payment procedure.

“I am very happy over the verdict. Above all I am grateful that someone was on my side for the first time. As far as I am concerned, it has never been about getting compensation but getting satisfaction,” the woman said in a statement.

Vida Paridad, the woman’s lawyer, added, “Hopefully this verdict might influence how petrol stations across the country are treating their customers. Any businessman who lets their prejudices govern their actions won’t benefit in the long run. Instead they are risking losing both money and reputation.”

The Orebro Centre for Equal Rights says it has received many similar reports of discrimination from the Roma community over the past few years. According to The Local, there are between 40,000 and 120,000 Roma in the country today.

The station will pay the woman SEK 5,000 (EUR 547).

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