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Real estate agent must apologise to Roma for discrimination

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Litomerice, North Bohemia, Aug 14 (CTK) – Czech real estate agent Eliska Noskova must apologise to Romany Lenka Balogova for discrimination since Noskova’s agency refused to rent a flat to her over her ethnicity, a district court ruled Friday.
However, the court rejected a 100,000-crown compensation that Balogova had demanded.
Neither Balogova nor her lawyer attended the court proceedings when verdict was issued.
Balogova pretended being interested in a flat, but a representative of the real estate agency rejected her because the owner did not wish Romany tenants.
Judge Jiri Slapal said the recording of an interview between Balogova and the real estate agent proved that Balogova was discriminated against.
Noskova must apologise within three days as soon as the verdict takes effect. The court also gave her the exact text of the apology.
Noskova told reporters that she was satisfied with the verdict, though she did not rule out an appeal.
“I suppose that an apology has been offered twice in a phone conversation,” she said.
The verdict will influence her work. “We must be careful or simply adapt to the circumstances to prevent a similar situation from repeating,” Noskova added.
The dispute dates back to 2013 when the Ombudsman’s Office was testing the willingness of North Bohemian real estate agencies to mediate flats rental to Romanies.
The Ombudsman’s Office cooperated with the Counselling Centre for Citizenship, Civil and Human Rights that was checking the approach of real estate agencies to Romanies on the basis of a contract with the ombudsman.
Then ombudsman Pavel Varvarovsky wanted to look into the case of real estate agents who refused to mediate rental housing to Romanies saying the flat owners did not wish it.
The court did not agree with the demanded financial compensation due to the form of testing.
“The complainant could on reasonable grounds expect a discriminatory reaction by some of the real estate agencies since it was a field research… It was actually an order for a state body,” judge Slapal explained to CTK, adding that the decision-making in this case was not easy.
($1=24.322 crowns)

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