BERLIN (AP) — A German court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against guidelines issued by automaker Audi that called for employees to use gender-sensitive language.
An employee at Audi’s parent company, Volkswagen, objected to an Audi colleague using such language in a communication with him and challenged the guidelines to the state court in Audi’s home city of Ingolstadt. He claimed that he violated individual rights.
But the court ruled that the person filing the lawsuit had no right to demand that the guidance not be applied, German news agency dpa reported. said it was directed to As a Volkswagen employee, I didn’t have to follow suit.
The court also ruled that being on the receiving end of gender-sensitive language was insufficient to justify a judgment in favor of Volkswagen employees. He had no right to be “left in peace,” the judge ruled.
Several other companies have introduced similar guidelines.
German nouns for people and occupations have masculine and feminine forms.
Audi’s guidelines in question were introduced last year. It requires the use of German forms that include underscores to encompass both masculine and feminine forms, and is intended to indicate broader gender inclusiveness. For example, write “employee” as “Mitarbeiter_innen”.
That, and another gender-sensitive form that uses an asterisk (“employee” is written as “Mitarbeiter(asterisk) innen”) has annoyed conservatives and some linguists alike.
They prefer more traditional forms such as “common men”. Use the masculine plural “Mitarbeiter” to refer to all genders, or in some cases to refer to individual genders as in “Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter”.