EasyJet compensates woman forced to give up seat for Charedi man

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EasyJet compensates woman forced to give up seat for Charedi man

British-Israeli passenger Melanie Wolfson was twice asked to move because a strictly-Orthodox man would not sit next to her

Michael Daventry is foreign editor of Jewish News

EasyJet has offered compensation and promised further training following the incident

EasyJet has compensated a British-Israeli woman after she was twice asked to switch seats on flights departing Israel because a strictly-Orthodox man would not sit next to her.

The budget airline reached the settlement with 38-year-old Melanie Wolfson, who said at the time she was facing discrimination for being a woman.

She recounted how she ultimately made the switch on the first flight out of Ben Gurion Airport in October 2019 out of a fear that she would be held responsible for delaying the flight.

But she refused to leave her seat on the latter flight two months later and instead two female passengers switched with two Charedi men and took the seats next to her.

In a statement that was agreed with Wolfson, easyJet said its did not believe female passengers should be asked to move seats “simply based on their gender”.

It continued: “The airline has a policy to politely inform any customer who raises this request that this will not be accommodated.

“Unfortunately, according to Melanie Wolfson this policy was not followed in her case.”

The statement was agreed with Wolfson and released through the Israel Religious Action Center, which is affiliated to the Reform movement in Israel and had filed a lawsuit.

Wolfson was suing on an Israeli law from 2000 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion, nationality, land of origin, gender, sexual orientation, political views or personal status.

Easyjet said that it would introduce additional crew training and guidelines to prevent a repeat incident.

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