Roma, whom a cafe refused to serve, wins in court

The case first landed in court in 2017.

Ladislav Rácz.Ladislav Rácz. (Source: Facebook)

A Roma who was not served in one cafe in Lučenec, central Slovakia, due to his ethnic origin, must be financially compensated and apologised to.

The decision in the anti-discrimination lawsuit, which is not valid, has been announced by the Bratislava I District Court, the SITA news agency wrote.

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Ladislav Rácz should receive €1,500 from the cafe.

Incident recorded on phone

The case happened in August 2017.

Rácz, together with his daughter and a friend, also of Roma origin, were not served at the Lučenec cafe. The staff refused to serve them on the grounds that it was a private club in which they provided services only to members based on a club card.

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The staff asked Rácz to pay €300 per month for the issuance of the club card and claimed that everyone they had served had such a card. Since they did not have these club cards, a waiter asked them to leave the cafe, which they did.

When Rácz’s non-Roma partner later visited the cafe, she was served and the staff did not ask her for any club card. When she remarked that she had noticed on the door that entry was allowed only with a club card, she was told that Roma were not allowed there.

When she told the staff that her Roma partner was in the cafe with her daughter half an hour ago and they were not served, she was told that this was common practice.

The incident was recorded on a phone.

Cafe ignored proceedings

In the judgement, among other things, the court stated that the racial discrimination to which the plaintiff was subjected is a particularly serious type of discrimination and, given its dangerous consequences, requires special vigilance and a vigorous response.

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Differentiating people based on a characteristic that they cannot influence, such as Roma ethnic origin, causes a person to feel humiliated, the court added.

“I consider it very important that the court accepted the lawsuit in full,” said Rácz’s lawyer Vanda Durbáková, adding that the discrimination against Roma in terms of access to services, which her client encountered, is present in Slovakia to a certain extent to this day.

The lawyer added that the cafe was passive during the entire court proceedings and did not comment on the lawsuit at all. Therefore, the cafe’s rights and obligations were taken over by another entity during the court proceedings.

The proceedings at the district court lasted almost six years.

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