Reykjavík District Court ruled on Wednesday that Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir had violated the laws on gender equality following the hiring of an office manager at the Prime Minister’s Office two years ago.
Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.
According to the verdict, the Icelandic state is to pay Anna Kristín Ólafsdóttir ISK 500,000 (USD 4,000, EUR 3,100) in compensation, ruv.is reports.
Anna Kristín was among more than 20 applicants for the position. She was considered to be among the five most qualified applicants, four women and one man. The man was hired.
Anna Kristín sued over the decision to the Equality Complaints Committee. The committee concluded last spring that the PM had violated the laws on equality.
The committee’s conclusion is binding according to amendments to the laws in 2008, achieved by Jóhanna herself, who was Minister of Social Affairs at the time.
The Reykjavík District Court’s verdict stated that Anna Kristín should not be compensated because of the hiring process as it cannot be reasoned that she was more competent than other applicants.
However, she is to receive compensation because of a declaration posted on the website of the Prime Minister’s Office after the conclusion of the complaints committee was announced.
The declaration stated that Anna Kristín had not been as qualified as the man who was hired to the position of office manager and it was pointed out that she had ranked fifth among applicants. The declaration was thought to have hurt Anna Kristín’s reputation.
Anna Kristín said it is important that the verdict confirmed that Jóhanna had violated laws established by herself and that the conclusion of the complaints committee was binding.
The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement in response to the verdict saying it is pleasing that this case has been brought to an end, ruv.is reports.
It points out that the claimant’s demand for damages was rejected but the same amount in compensation that the Prime Minister’s Office offered to her after the complaints committee announced its conclusion had been agreed to.
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