A court in the city of Novi Sad in northern Serbia made legal history after it fined a man for discriminating against his gay colleague.
The court ordered the man, known only by his initials D.K., to pay the 25 year-old gay plaintiff 180,00 dinars ( 1,700) for causing moral damages and violating his personal rights, reputation and honour, according to the portal Balkan Insight.
D.K. will also have to pay the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) the body that represented the plaintiff, 99,000 dinars (about 850 euro) for covering the court ‘costs.
The court ruled on Wednesday (9 January) that D.K. used the term ‘faggot’ against the plaintiff, in a ‘negative, humiliating, disparaging and insulting manner’.
The plaintiff, known only by the initials M.A. first contacted the GSA in March 2011 complaining that his colleague was insulting, threatening and physically abusing him.
GSA released a statement saying it was satisfied with the verdict and the speed of the trial.
This is Serbia’s first verdict against anti-gay discrimination in the workplace.
Gays and lesbians continue to face discrimination and harassment in Serbia.
The majority of Serbian people display vast anti-gay attitudes.
There have been numerous instances of violent gay-bashing, mostly during several Belgrade Gay Prides.
In 2012 and 2011, the authorities cancelled planned Gay Pride parades following far-right threats to cause mayhem on the streets.
According to recent research, only 26 per cent believe the state should protect the rights of gays and lesbians, while 62 per cent do not share this opinion.
Nevertheless, Serbia has been making great strides recently with legal protection to its LGBT citizens.
On 26 March 2009 the parliament approved a unified Anti-Discrimination Law which prohibited, among other things, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status in all areas.
On 24 December 2012, the parliament approved changes in Serbian penal code introducing hate crime, with the recognition of a hate crime based on sexual orientation and gender identity.