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Saturday 29 August 2020

Passenger asked to move seats because of her gender

Did you hear about the airline passenger who was asked to move seats because of her gender?

Surely not, you might think - but you'd be wrong. Being a woman is not acceptable for low-cost airline easyJet.

A British-Israeli passenger has filed a lawsuit against the airline after she had to move seats at the request of an ultra-Orthodox man and his son. The Jewish duo refused to sit beside the woman because of her gender.

Melanie Wolfson has sued the London-based airline on the grounds of discrimination.

Haaretz reported that Wolfson paid an extra fee to opt for the aisle seat. The ultra-Orthodox man and his son were already seated at the window and middle seat, respectively.

When Wolfson settled in, the man’s son removed himself from his seat and started looking for a man who would be able to change places with her. Once his son returned, the father, without making eye contact with Wolfson, asked her to switch seats with another man seated a few rows in front.

At this point, Wolfson refused to move. A flight attendant had purportedly offered the woman a free beverage if she complied with the man’s request.

Eventually, Wolfson adhered so as not to delay the flight. She told leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz that it was the first time she was discriminated against based on her gender.

She encountered a similar incident two months later, which was after her first official complaint to the airline. In the second incident, she was travelling to London once more. This time, two ultra-Orthodox men requested for Wolfson to move. Wolfson stood her ground, which resulted in two women switching seats with the men instead.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews practice Haredi Judaism, which is more conservative compared to Modern Orthodox Judaism - and apparently considers women not worthy of being seated next to males.

After submitting multiple complaints, she reportedly did not hear back from the airline.

EasyJet is being sued for violating Israeli’s anti-discrimination law. The law prohibits discriminating customers based on race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or political views.

The Israeli flag carrier El Al has in the past also asked passengers to move because of their gender.

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