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Ikea not guilty in ball-pit discrimination suit

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Ikea not guilty in ball-pit discrimination suit
07:47 CET+01:00
Swedish furniture giant Ikea is not guilty of discrimination for refusing to allow a disabled 5-year-old girl play in a ball pit at one of their stores, a Swedish court ruled on Monday.

The case stems from a 2009 incident in which then 5-year-old Filippa Nordin, who suffers from a rare chromosome disorder, was told by staff at an Ikea outlet in Helsingborg in southern Sweden that she couldn't play in the ball pit.

At the time, staff expressed their concerns about ensuring the girl's safety, much to the frustration of her mother Annica Nordin, who filed a lawsuit against the Swedish retailer alleging her daughter had been the victim of discrimination.

In addition, the staff on hand said they had offered several alternatives for how Filippa could be kept under guard but that her mother had rejected them.

"I'm never going to give up. I hope that justice wins out," Annica Nordin told the TT news agency following Monday's decision, which affirms a district court ruling from last year.

Both the district court and the court of appeal agreed that Ikea's argument that Filippa was kept out of the ball bit for safety reasons.

However, the appeals court altered one aspect of the lower court decision, ruling that the Centre For Equal Rights (Byrån För Lika Rättigheter), which represented the Nordins in the case, will not have to pay for Ikea's legal fees and court costs.

The case was never a question of direct or indirect discrimination, the court ruled, a finding that doesn't sit well with Annica Nordin, who is considering taking the case to Sweden's Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen).

"Why would they offer me 20,000 kronor ($3,100) if they hadn't done something wrong?" she told TT, referring to previous attempts by Ikea to settle the case.

"You feel very small. But I know the truth and my child knows the truth."

TT/The Local/dl

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