The Magistrate in Leeuwarden passed sentence that the owner of agricultural wholesaler De Boer in Drachten has to pay compensation to Bas van der Meer, the student who was refused an internship because of his homosexual orientation.
The compensation of EUR 1,500 includes EUR 500 in monetary compensation. The rest is for the college fee Bas has had to pay for his study delay because of not having an internship. The company also has to pay a fine of EUR 1,800, half of which is probational, with a probationary period of three years. The verdict is in accordance with the sentence demanded by the Public Prosecution. “You are free to practise your religion in this country, but that does not mean that you are allowed to backbench others social-economically,” the cantonal judge noted.
Bas van der Meer is happy with the verdict, and writes the following on his Facebook page: “I am happy with the verdict, and am glad the judge also thinks this is about discrimination. The fact that Dutch law still overrules religion is very important to me. I hope this verdict will help others that are being discriminated. It does not matter what you believe, as long as you respect others and judge them on their qualities.”
The Public Prosecutor (Openbaar Ministerie, OM) sued the wholesaler for discrimination. According to the OM, the owner can life his live the way he sees fit and in accordance with this religious convictions, but he is not allowed to discriminate and exclude others on the grounds of sexual orientation. The judge is of the same opinion. Last February, the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights already ruled in favour of the student.
The owner was not present at the meeting of the court. During the investigation, he has submitted a confession stating that he knows he is discriminating, but his rejection of Bas as an intern was motivated by his religious beliefs.
The Christian owner of the agricultural wholesaler from Drachten communicated last November that Bas van der Meer was rejected because ‘God does not approve of expressing this sexual orientation’. Bas ‘having that orientation’ is not the problem for the wholesaler, but expressing it is. Through messages on his Facebook page, the company found out that Bas has a boyfriend. Bas then filed a complaint of discrimination with the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights and reported the incident to the police.
Minister Lodewijk Asscher of Social Affairs and Employment called rejecting interns because of their sexual orientation ‘incomprehensible’. De Minister advised Bas to file a complaint. The COC called it 'outrageous, absurd and illegal' to refuse an internship or work on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.