Last update! The Parisian Court of Appeal confirms EASYJET’S condemnation for the discrimination of the 3 disabled passengers

6 February 2013

On 5 February 2013, the Court of Appeal of Paris confirmed the condemnation of the British low-cost airline Easy Jet for the discrimination of 3 disabled passengers in 2008 and 2009. The French organisation representing persons with disabilities, ‘Association des Paralysés de France (APF)' and EDF welcome this decision as a very important outcome to raise awareness of such incidents, as well as of the need to ensure full implementation of the EU regulations.

The 3 three wheelchair-bound passengers were refused to board the company’s planes between November 2008 and January 2009. Examining this case, in January 2012 the French Court had found Easy Jet guilty of discrimination against these passengers with disabilities. For this reason, Easy Jet has been fined with 70.000 Euro and 2.000 Euro of damages to all three complainants, along with a symbolic euro to the French organisation representing persons with disabilities, ‘Association des Paralysés de France (APF)’, plaintiff in this case.

Easyjet had denied any "discriminatory intention" and it appealed.

DISABLED PASSENGERS SHOULD HAVE THEIR VOICE HEARD

The incident with the discrimination against these 3 passengers with disabilities is of course not the only one; similar incidents occur with other airlines carriers with few of them coming to the light. EDF takes this opportunity to encourage persons with disabilities who have faced similar incidents to have their voice heard and bring their complaints forward. The outcome of this case can also be a good opportunity for this airline, Easy Jet, to consider developing an action plan in order to become an example among air carriers.

WHY IS THIS A LANDMARK DECISION?

Bruno Gaurier, member of the EDF transport task force, was invited at the Court as an expert. According to him, this decision is a landmark decision for 3 main reasons:

The decision by the judge is unequivocal: Easyjet has committed discrimination on the grounds of disability.

This is one of the first times that a civil case has been bought referring to an EU regulation (concerning the rights of disabled people and people with reduced mobility when traveling by air) and won in court.

The French organisation APF supported the litigants in going through the legal process by providing a lawyer and eventually winning the case. This is a best practice: the disability movement has to fight to make sure the law we have lobbied for is fully respected.

BACKGROUND

Read APF’s press release on the case on its website (in French)

Find information on the Regulation concerning the rights of disabled people and people with reduced mobility when traveling by air here: EC Regulation No 1107/2006

*Photo: copyrights afp.com/Fabrice Coffrini

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