“was not based on the customer’s race, ethnic origin or the like”

Concerning Mr. E. S. (represented by the Documentation and Advisory Centre on Racial Discrimination) vs Denmark for violation of articles 2, 5 and 6 of CERD.

The petitioner contacted Fair Insurance A/S to purchase insurance covering loss of and damage to his car, as well as third party liability insurance. He was told that they could not offer him insurance, as he did not speak Danish.

The DRC thus filed a complaint and pointed out that the company was legally obliged to offer any customer public liability insurance. The police rejected the complaint and the regional public prosecutor upheld this negative decision. He explained that the language requirement, “was not based on the customer’s race, ethnic origin or the like, but in the wish to be able to communicate with the customers in Danish, as the company has no employees who in regard to insurances in other languages than Danish have skills…..”. Thus a complaint was sent to CERD.
The Committee finds that the reasons provided by Fair Insurance A/S for the language requirement, including the ability to communicate with the customer, the lack of resources for a small company to employ persons speaking different languages, and the fact that it is a company operating primarily through telephone contact were reasonable and objective grounds for the requirement and would not have warranted further investigation. Thus the committee is of the opinion that the facts as submitted do not disclose a violation of CERD.

17. December 2019

CERD 32/2003
  • Decision: 10. March 2005
  • Comm: Race