news 10 Jan 13

Serbia Court Delivers Landmark Gay Verdict

A court in Novi Sad has delivered the country's first-ever verdict on discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace.

Bojana Barlovac

A court in the northern city of Novi Sad set a legal precedent in Serbia on Wednesday after it fined a man for discriminating against his 25-year-old work colleague on the grounds of the latter's sexual orientation.

The court ordered the man, known only by the initials D.K., to pay the plaintiff 180,000 dinars (about 1,700 euro) for causing mental pain and for violating his personal rights, reputation and honour.

D.K. will also have to pay the Gay Straight Alliance, GSA, the body that represented the plaintiff, 99,000 dinars (about 850 euro) in court costs.

The Appellate Court said the term “faggot” had been used to describe a male homosexual in a “negative, humiliating, disparaging and insulting manner”.

The plaintiff, known only by the initials M.A. first contacted the GSA in March 2011 to complain that his colleague was insulting, threatening and physically abusing him.

The GSA said in a statement it was satisfied with the verdict and the speed of the trial.

This is the first verdict for discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace in Serbia.

The gay community in Serbia is widely subjected to discrimination, including hate speech and physical attacks.

In 2012 and 2011, the authorities cancelled planned Gay Pride parades following far-right threats to cause mayhem on the streets.

According to recent research, most Serbs feel more hostile to gays than even to widely disliked Albanians.

Only 26 per cent believe the state should protect the rights of gays and lesbians, while 62 per cent do not share this opinion, the survey suggested.

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