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Fired newspaper editor wins sexual-discrimination lawsuit

In what could be a landmark case, the CEO of one of Finland’s largest media companies has been fined for discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation.

Image: Yle

On Monday, Helsinki Appeals Court imposed the fine on Kai Telanne, chief executive of Alma Media, which publishes more than 30 newspapers including Iltalehti and Aamulehti.

The court declared that Telanne discriminated against former newspaper editor Johanna Korhonen due to her sexual orientation.

Korhonen Image: Yle

She was hired as editor of the Rovaniemi-based daily Lapin Kansa in 2008, but Telanne cancelled the contract before she started work. This followed his realisation that Korhonen’s registered partner is a woman who also happened to be politically active.

Telanne was ordered to pay some 6800 euros as well as Korhonen’s legal fees of 12,600 euros, totalling nearly 20,000 euros.

Appeal possible

Telanne said in a statement that he is considering appealing the case to the Supreme Court. He denied that the contract was annulled for the reasons claimed by Korhonen.

For her part, Korhonen told Yle that she was “happy as a lark that this process that has gone of many years is drawing to a close”.

In 2010, Alma Media was ordered to pay her 80,000 euros in damages after a civil trial. Monday’s ruling was in a separate criminal trial.