Ukrainian woman wins Rīga car wash discrimination case
The owner of a car wash in Latvia will have to pay 1,000 euros in compensation for moral damage to a Ukrainian citizen for discrimination, the Riga City Court has decided.
The public broadcasting station of Latvia is reporting about the curious case, which also drew the attention of the local human rights center. Neither the owner of the car wash nor its precise location were specified in the news.
A woman who had fled Ukraine on March 22, shortly after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, showed up at the car wash in Riga.
“Wanting to wash and clean the car after the long journey, which took her a total of five days, the plaintiff came with her daughter to a car wash in the center of Rīga. Although the employees of the car wash initially told the customer to wait, later, when they noticed that the plaintiff’s car had license plates registered in Ukraine, they refused to provide a service, claiming that the owner of the car wash had forbidden them to serve Ukrainians,” the center said in a statement.
The woman initially left the car wash upset. When she later decided to return to find out if she really understood everything correctly, she was again refused service. “Change the license plates, then we will wash them”, an employee added. This conversation was recorded and later used in court.
The court took into account the fact that the defendant did not express any regret about what happened and did not apologize.
Latvia borders Russia and has many inhabitants from Russian descent. It was not disclosed if the carwash owner is Russian.