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Southern Finland store fined for discriminating against Roma woman

Kymenlaakso District Court has fined a clothing shop in downtown Kouvola for discriminating against a woman belonging to Finland’s Roma minority last year.

Kuvassa lähikuva romaninaisesta.
Image used is not related to the incident in the report. Image: Sini Salmirinne / Yle

Kymenlaakso District Court in the south-east has slapped fines on a shop owner and sales associate for refusing a Roma woman entry into a clothing store. The court classified the incident as discrimination as the sales person had followed rules set out by the owner.

The court ordered the shop to pay the woman damages of 1,500 euros. The owner was also ordered to pay 30 day fines, totalling 390 euros based on income, while the sales person’s 20-day fine amounted to 140 euros.

Last month a cab driver in the south-western city of Turku was fined by the court for discriminating against customers from the Roma minority. The case centred on the cabbie refusing to allow a mother and young child into his taxi.

Finland’s Roma people, also known as Kale, apparently originally migrated from Britain via Sweden some 500 years ago. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has estimated that there are some 10,000 Kale in Finland.

In recent years Roma from eastern Europe have also moved to Finland, often on a temporary basis.

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