• Sweden edition
 

Driver reported for kicking gay man off bus

Published: 02 Mar 2010 09:22 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Mar 2010 09:22 GMT+01:00

The discrimination ombudsman (DO) has asked Stockholm local transport authority, SL, to adequately compensate a gay man after a bus driver ordered him to leave the bus.

The man boarded the bus at Danderyd hospital on his way home to nearby Täby when the bus driver is alleged to have said:

"Do you think it is fun that I can see your panties?" according to the man's report to the discrimination ombudsman (DO) which has taken up the case.

The man explained that while he was not wearing panties, his underwear could be seen just above the waist of his trousers.

The bus driver is then alleged to have leaned back in his chair and added:

"In fact, you best leave the bus as I could get turned on."

While the man described being shocked and angry at the bus driver's comments, he took a seat further back in the bus and waited for departure.

But five minutes passed and the bus remained stationary. The man began to suspect that he was somehow involved in the delay, at which point two security staff boarded the bus and instructed him to accompany them.

Once on the pavement, and after the bus had departed, the man was told by the guards that he should feel fortunate that the bus driver did not plan to report the matter.

By way of explanation, the man was told by the guards that the driver had not felt comfortable in his position. In his report to DO the man describes how he felt "ridiculed, offended and sexually harassed."

After a series of calls to SL which failed to result in a satisfactory explanation for the bus driver's behaviour the man decided to share his story with the local newspaper.

While the subsequent article stimulated some interest in the incident the man's family were forced to continue to pursue SL, and bus operator Busslink, for an apology.

When finally the man's mother spoke to the person in charge of the bus station where the driver works, she was offered cinema tickets and a potted plant. This offer was declined and it was suggested that 20,000 kronor ($1,500) would be a more suitable compensation.

It was at this point that the mother suggested to SL that as her son was homosexual there could be an underlying element to the bus driver's behaviour and referred the matter to the family's lawyer.

DO ruled in February that the young man's report, including substantiated witness testimony, supports the allegation that he suffered discrimination due to his sexuality.

DO has invited SL and Busslink to discuss a civil settlement prior to the matter being presented before the courts.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:44 March 2, 2010 by glaciator
That bus driver is a disgrace.
10:47 March 2, 2010 by StockholmSam
The bus driver should be fired. Imagine if he had said that to a woman and not a gay man. The outcry would have been enormous. And the security guards should be investigated, too. Instead of simply taking the driver's word for it, they should have investigated the matter more thoroughly and acted in such a way that was legal and sensitive to all parties. Had they done this, they might have reported the driver for breaking the law instead of taking the man off. This sort of crap should not happen in 2010.
11:03 March 2, 2010 by MD1
From this article, it seems to me that the gentleman was discriminated against for clothing and not sexuality. In fact, it aappears as if the mother used her son's sexuality as a threat towards SL in a possible lawsuit.
11:28 March 2, 2010 by bolababu
shows how Swedish men have become very redundant, firstly, this guy can't fight for himself, his father can't fight for him either, his mother actually comes along and does a good job of it. Secondly, this bus driver who probably can't look his wife in the face if he actually has one picks a fight with a gay man. talk about a "jobless" bus-driver.
11:35 March 2, 2010 by Audrian
I agree with MD1 that the driver would not have known that the abused was gay, unless the two knew each other from an earlier encounter. I wonder where the driver got the idea that he has an authority to humilate. It is a problem that arises from lack of supervision and lessons on work ethics and respect.
11:40 March 2, 2010 by occassional
Fire him. Plain and simple.
11:57 March 2, 2010 by Britswedeguy
The bus driver is wrong either way, but it does sound like the man might have been wearing those ridiculous "low-riders" that make you look like you've filled your nappy.
12:56 March 2, 2010 by calebian22
It would be interesting to know if there was any prior history between the driver and the rider. This harassment seems a little out of the blue. If not wearing low-hanging jeans was a prerequisite in the mind of this driver to ride on his bus, there wouldn't be any teenagers on this route either. Then again, he could just be a complete arse.
14:06 March 2, 2010 by foxpur
There is a point where certain jobs should not go to certain people. I bus drive is not a captain of a ship where his will is final, it is a public interaction with every possible type of person. A personal opinion against his passengers should never come up, he is there to represent the needs of his company and his passengers, not make judgments on them.

The driver should be removed from duty as a blemish on the bus companies records, he has no place in that like of work.
14:37 March 2, 2010 by misssh
"I KNOW"

Maybe they should put a full page ad up to say they are very very sorry

then offer all the people that take the bus a free ticket for a week yeaaaaa

solved SL your the best transport company in the world ...........
14:45 March 2, 2010 by Rolf100
My question is simple - a person boarding a bus - How would you know that person is gay?
14:46 March 2, 2010 by Beavis
Whats with these bus drivers? This is not the first time this has happened. Whos hiring these muppets?!
15:10 March 2, 2010 by Nemesis
That driver should be fired, plain and simple.

Also the hiring practices of the comapny need to be seriously investigated.
17:05 March 2, 2010 by StockholmSam
@Beavis

It isn't just the people doing the hiring, it is the people doing the applying. For such jobs, many applicants are not highly educated or trained in customer service and sensitivity. Of course, the company needs to make sure they receive such training; it needs to be a central part of the company's culture.
17:11 March 2, 2010 by danielatrujillo
"cinema tickets and a potted plant"

is that a joke?
20:16 March 2, 2010 by Beavis
@StockholmSam There are plenty of people out there (who might not speak good swedish) who have tons of customer service experience and can drive a bus. These people are overlooked for the ones yor talking about constantly. How worse cold they be. Anyhow anytime I ask a driver in Stockholm, "Does this bus go to x "(and name the stop) they have no clue (not part of their job aparantly.

But your right these people really need customer service training.
21:37 March 2, 2010 by DAVID T
I think they should accept the plant and dress nicely next time. No doubt they'll get the 20,000 sek and then the cost will be passed on to us the hard working, decently dressed punter.
21:38 March 2, 2010 by Wetallica
Pff, ridicuous, these are problems of people who don't have any problems
23:11 March 2, 2010 by repat_xpat
Seems there is only one side of the story told here, but screw it, the victim is gay -- therefore he must be right. Fire the bastard bus driver and pay off the victim. Its the only just thing to do in a civilized society.
02:18 March 3, 2010 by Da Goat
Yeah seems to be a lot of story missing the "Gay blade" must have done something else to offend the bus driver seems like both were offended (both should grow up) but because the lad is allegedly gay then nobody can touch him.

I reckon give both the fag and the bus driver a good smack!

No maybe not as they might like it.
05:58 March 3, 2010 by Jimk
this article is a waste of time...

There is no fact on what actually happened on that Bus:

only one side of the story where I believe The local has no point to step in, specially considering mother's interest for money...

I start to have the feeling that The Local is more like a fluff turbine!
06:58 March 3, 2010 by Uncle
I have hears am even more horrible story:

A bus driver kicked a straight man off the bus! Straights man mommy wanted compensation, because it was clear that he was straight from the way his CC underwear were seen from the baggy jeans. In addition, he was talking while not moving his head to the sides, without actually tilting it.

Bull of a story!
07:04 March 3, 2010 by Tutu
I think i will go with Jimk. I think the gay man is taking advantage of his sexuality to get the buss driver into trouble. Moreover we have not heard why the buss driver drove him out and why his employer did not suspend him after his side of the story. what the buss driver did might be wrong but i dont agree it was because of homosexuality.
08:08 March 3, 2010 by izbz
Since the bus driver get turn on so easily, he shouldn't even allow to go to the beach. a lot of women wear bikini there. By the way he got turn on by a guy, most probably he is a gay himself who don't have the nuts to come out of the closet.. Alot of young kids (boys and girls) wear their pants way down low so it is very dangerous to have a horny guy like that driving the bus...teminate him before aNYTHING HAPPEN AND SL should compensate the boy
09:47 March 3, 2010 by salalah
Agree with "Wetalica". If the Local wrote about the weather, people would also have a lot of opinions about it...
13:48 March 3, 2010 by manamind
Did the driver KNOW he was gay? Because unless he did, where is the "mental element"? It seems to me the guy was kicked off for being badly dressed according to another's tastes. Not that he was a faggot. The fact that his gayness was only disclosed afterwards would tend to support such a theory.
01:18 March 4, 2010 by caradoc
where do all these people get off describing a gay man as a "faggot"?
12:05 March 4, 2010 by Uncle
It is the word of the kicked off man that he:"Went directly to the back of the bus" - all insulted.

Could it be that he behaved like some "happy flowers" and started screaming and waving with the finger in front of drivers face and demanded from him to "talk to the hand" and threw stuff on the floor? Is it possible that he behaved like some feminine behave sometimes and therefore he was taken off? Is there such a chance, even if 1 in a thousand?
12:35 March 4, 2010 by Zevdokat
Taking this article on face value, the whole situation is a disgrace. It is a classic example of Swedish labor protectionism and the its impact on professional accountability! The bus driver doesn't care what he does. This is because he knows he will not lose his job or be publically persecuted. Besides, SL will be no doubt deeply concerned about the 'psychological impact' such attention has brought to the driver and address it with appropriate counseling sessions or tax funded stress leave.

From a financial perspective, SL doesn't really care. It is not as though people will stop using the buses after this incident. A worst case 20k settlement will hardly affect their bottom line either. In any other country, the driver would be fired as a way of making an example of the company's commitment to their corporate principles and behaviors.
05:44 March 5, 2010 by JDV
Uncle

Stop using your homophobic stereotypes… There is and was not such a chance and that is because the case was in fact taken to an ombudsman a legal authority. Who's legal function was to discern the truth and facts of the situation from both sides and to determine if the bus driver did in fact misuse his authority in a discriminatory way and did the company offer reasonable compensation based on the facts and evidence of the case. He did and they didn't, the company was fined accordingly on the basis of the facts evidence presented by both sides.

Zevdocat

You are absolutely wrong in no other country, except maybe in "Capitalist America" or "Dicksonian England", and not even there, would or should this bus driver be fired for this offense. A good responsible company would keep an experienced driver, save money and boost the reputation and community standing of the company by sending him to a sensitivity training course. If they did not have one in place then developing one, along with a new policy and guidelines, to benefit both him, other employees and improve the company's reputation and performance in this area. That is the way modern developed civilized countries, companies and management, and individuals conduct their business.
07:12 March 5, 2010 by Uncle
JDV - stereotypes are used against entire group. When someone asks "Is there a chance in a thousand" that this specific person behaved in certain way, this is not stereotype and actually blaming in it is a sign of using conformed and general arguments for anything related to the issue. A sign of weakness.

You know perfectly well that SOME individuals behave in that way. You probably saw it yourself, however stereotipical it may be. I can assure you that 100% that behave that way are gay people. The reasons for that are various and objective, but it is true, like the assumption that if a guy falls on the floor on a carpet in a middle of an office few times a day, is muslim..

If he got the compensation - great, however I still did not hear driver's version. In any judgement THIS is considered presumptious and not fair in any normal society. IF you are so sure that the driver was guilty, can you please tell his version? I am asking because if the judgement was in his favour, it could mean that the authorities just wanted to shut the whining gay organizations, like it happens often also with feminist org. and workers unions.
10:49 March 5, 2010 by mombassa
The bus driver should get a medal.

Swedish men are a bunch of pansy effeminates, a step from being homosexuals.

It's ok, Muslim men will fill the void.
12:05 March 5, 2010 by tollermann
mombassa, Unfortunately you are probably correct!
15:20 March 5, 2010 by JDV
Uncle learn to read

"DO ruled in February that the young man's report, including substantiated witness testimony, supports the allegation that he suffered discrimination due to his sexuality."

It was not just this young mans word but the statments of other witnesses to the event that supports the story.

No you can not assure 100% of the people who act in the ridiculous way you chose to express your homophobic view of gay people, are not gay... and I can assure you of that.

Mombassa... what is your point?

That people should be thrown off busses because they are different. Are you trying embarass yourself or just trying to hide your repressed gayness by making and overt ridiculous statement about the masculinity of others.
19:01 March 5, 2010 by Uncle
No you right, JDV. If the gay buddies of the gay person supported his version, we DO NOT NEED to hear driver's version. Because it is true for sure. (Otherwise it is hard for me to imagine how they found unrelated witnesses, if there was no real trial!)

And you are right, again JDV. My descriptive behavior could apply only partly to gays. The other part is crazy people. Learn to read and read my description, you liberalized moron.
08:54 March 6, 2010 by JDV
Uncle

Things always seem hard for you to accept or imagine when it come to the issues.

You always want to distract with fantasies... about what might or could have happened if? and now it's mental ilness and crazy people that associate with gayness.

" I can assure you that 100% that behave that way are gay people. The reasons for that are various and objective..."

You should learn to read your own stuff

But if you want to fantasize here's my contirbution to what is not in evidence...

the buss driver and his security pals probaly have been getting their kicks harassing young and gay people this way for long time... Just that this time someone decided to fight back in a peaceful and lawful way.
00:12 July 23, 2010 by Dot2
I'm really enjoying Sweden and Swedes :D
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