German court rejects suit over gender-sensitive language

Jul 28, 2022, 8:36 PM | Updated: Jul 29, 2022, 8:41 am

BERLIN (AP) — A German court on Friday threw out a lawsuit against a guideline issued by automaker Audi that called for employees to use gender-sensitive language.

An employee of Audi’s parent company, Volkswagen, objected to Audi colleagues using such language in their communications with him and went to the state court in Audi’s home city of Ingolstadt to challenge the guideline. He alleged a violation of his personal rights.

But the court ruled the person who brought the lawsuit had no right to demand the non-application of the guidance, German news agency dpa reported. Judge Christoph Hellerbrand said it was directed only at Audi employees and the plaintiff. as a Volkswagen employee, was not required to follow it.

The court also found that being on the receiving end of gender-sensitive wording wasn’t enough to justify a ruling in the Volkswagen employee’s favor. He didn’t have a right “to be left in peace,” the judge ruled.

Some other companies have introduced similar guidelines.

German nouns referring to people and their professions have different masculine and feminine forms.

The Audi guideline in question was introduced last year. It called for the use of a form of German words that includes an underscore to encompass both masculine and feminine forms and is meant to show broader gender inclusiveness — writing “employees” as “Mitarbeiter_innen,” for example.

That and another gender-sensitive form that uses an asterisk — in which “employees” would be written as “Mitarbeiter(asterisk)innen” — annoy conservatives, some language experts and others.

They prefer more traditional forms such as the “generic masculine” — using the masculine plural, “Mitarbeiter,” to refer to all genders, or in some cases referring genders separately as “Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Photo: President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference following the NATO Summit in Washington, Thu...

Zeke Miller, Seung Min Kim, Lisa Mascaro and Colleen Long, The Associated Press

Biden says during news conference he’s going to ‘complete the job’ despite calls to bow out

Biden used his highly anticipated news conference to deliver a defense of his policies and batted away questions about his ability to serve.

3 days ago

Photo: Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani talks to reporters as he leaves the federal courthouse i...

Associated Press

Judge says Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy case likely to be dismissed. But his debts aren’t going away

A judge said he was leaning toward throwing out Rudy Giuliani's bankruptcy case. A dismissal would end his pursuit of bankruptcy protection.

4 days ago

biden democrats...

Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press

Biden tells Hill Democrats he ‘declines’ to step aside and says it’s time for party drama ‘to end’

President Joe Biden stood firm against calls for him to drop his candidacy and called for an "end" to the intraparty drama.

6 days ago

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Actor Martin Mull attends FOX Hosts "The Cool Kids" Outdoor Scree...


Comedic actor Martin Mull, star of ‘Roseanne,’ ‘Arrested Development,’ dies at 80

Martin Mull, whose droll, esoteric comedy and acting made him a hip sensation in the 1970s and a frequent guest star of sitcoms, has died.

15 days ago

In this photo provided by NASA, Boeing Crew Flight Test astronauts Butch Wilmore, left, and Suni Wi...


Astronauts will stay at the space station longer for more troubleshooting of Boeing capsule

Two NASA astronauts will stay longer at the International Space Station as engineers troubleshoot problems on Boeing’s new space capsule.

16 days ago

moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

24 days ago

German court rejects suit over gender-sensitive language