By Charlie Loran •
Published: 28 Aug 2020 • 12:21
A BRITISH-Israeli woman is suing easyJet for £15,000 after they made her move seats twice because ultra-Orthodox Jewish men refused to sit next to a female passenger.
Melanie Wolfson, 38, is claiming compensation in a lawsuit filed on her behalf by the Israel Religious Action Centre (IRAC).
According to the lawsuit, Ms Wolfson paid extra for an aisle seat on a flight to London last October. An ultra-Orthodox man and his son, who were sitting in the row when she arrived, asked her to switch seats.
Ms Wolfson said she was ‘insulted and humiliated’ by the request. “It was the first time in my adult life that I was discriminated against for being a woman,” she said.
“I would not have had any problem whatsoever switching seats if it were to allow members of a family or friends to sit together, but the fact that I was being asked to do this because I was a woman was why I refused.”
A flight attendant intervened and offered Ms Wolfson a free hot drink as an incentive to move. Concerned that the flight might be delayed on her account, she agreed to switch seats.
Two months later, on another easyJet flight to London, Ms Wolfson was again asked to move seats by two ultra-Orthodox men, and she refused.
Members of the cabin crew allegedly did not intervene or defend her right to stay seated where she was.
Ms Wolfson complained to easyJet on both occasions but they failed to respond, so she decided to sue for violation of Israeli law, which prohibits discrimination against customers on the basis of race, religion, nationality, land of origin, gender, sexual orientation, political views or personal status.
A spokeswoman for easyJet said: “We take claims of this nature very seriously. Whilst it would be inappropriate to comment, as this matter is currently the subject of legal proceedings, we do not discriminate on any grounds.”
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