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Finnish media group discriminated against lesbian editor

PinkNews Staff Writer February 3, 2009

The Labour Protection Office in Finland has ruled that the country’s second-largest media group was guilty of unjust discrimination in the case of a gay woman who was dismissed as editor of a regional newspaper.

In October Johanna Korhonen claimed she was dismissed from daily paper Lapin Kansa because she is in a relationship with a woman.

The chief executive of Alma Media said that she was sacked after less than a month in the job because she had lied during the interview process.

“Lying in [Alma Media’s] book means that I have spoken about spouses and children without specifically impressing on them that spouse in this case refers to a woman and a not to a man,” Ms Korhonen told Finnish News Agency STT.

Reporters on the paper demanded the resignation of the Alma group chief executive, Kai Telanne, for his part in the sacking and readers flooded the paper with complaints.

The Labour Protection Office said there were not sufficient grounds for Mr Korhonen’s dismissal and it is considering passing the case to the police.

“The office says Alma Media’s mistrust in Korhonen as a job candidate is based in illegal discriminatory practices and that probes into the political affiliation of her spouse were uncalled for in terms of the position,” reports

“The Labour Protection Office also found that the employer in this case had no reason to demand that Korhonen rectify assumptions that her partner was male.”

While Ms Korhonen’s partner is a candidate for the local council in the city where the newspaper is based, the couple said she suspended campaigning when Ms Korhonen was appointed as editor.

Ms Korhonen is suing Alma Media for 230,000 euros (£207,000) in damages.

More: Employment, Europe

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