by Matteo Winkler
Originally published: March 21, 2017
A court of appeal in Trento, Italy recently ordered a Catholic school to pay 43,000 euros to one of its art teachers in compensation for firing her because of her sexual orientation.
The teacher had worked at the school for five years and pupils, parents and colleagues were happy with her performance. Then, before the summer break of 2014, the principal asked to meet her, ostensibly to finalize arrangements for the following year’s courses. Instead, she was taken into another office where she was asked to officially deny rumors that she was in a relationship with another woman. If she didn’t comply, she would be fired. The principal also suggested she ‘cure’ herself of her sexual orientation, citing the case of a music teacher who had agreed to undergo therapy and was given a permanent position at the school as a result.
The first instance court had already concluded this was a case of discrimination and awarded damages. The court of appeal confirmed this and concluded that “there was no doubt of the discriminatory nature of the request of information pertaining to sexual orientation […] and of subjecting the employment’s renewal to the condition of not practicing one’s sexual orientation or to address it as a sickness to be cured.”