Thalys, a French national train operator, suffered recently from a backlash from an All Out campaign after a member of Thalys’s partner staff reprimanded a lesbian couple for kissing on the platform , denouncing the activity as “intolerable.”
Thalys yesterday released a French language press release, which I have opted to translate below.
Please note that this translation has not been performed from a professional standpoint, and that only Thalys’s original official press release is relevant for further quoting.
Press release, Friday 13th of March, 2015
No ambiguity will be tolerated:
Thalys and RailRest respond to AllOut’s call in a common fight for values of Tolerance and Respect, against homophobia
Recently, two young women were called out by a member of staff for romantically kissing on a station platform. It would seem this kiss had been judged “intolerable” by a platform agent who was convinced this right was reserved to heterosexual couples.
The victim of this discriminatory act made a plea to All Out to denounce the incident, and spoke out to Thalys via a petition.
Thalys would like to remind their customers that it embraces the values of openness and respect, and will not condone any homophobic word or action.
Agnès Ogier, CEO of Thalys, stated: “We want to be very clear: no homophobic speech nor action will be tolerated by Thalys. Following this serious incident, we have immediately opened an investigation with the help of our partner RailRest, for whom the staff member in question works for. This employee has been suspended and the matter is following its course under workers’ rights considerations. Transparency is a necessary tool in the fight against all forms of discrimination; a fight that we subscribe to. We thank all those who alerted us, as well as All Out.”
Ingrid Nuelant, deputy CEO and Human Resources director at Thalys added: “Thalys has always expressed its values of openness without ambiguity through its communication campaigns and its support for gay prides; as well as through continued training delivered to all its employees and that of its partners. Our collaborators adhere to a charter that rejects, verbatim, all discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation (*) and our training focuses greatly on these notions. How to, ensure in this context, that this kind of individual homophobic slip-up, can no longer ever appen again in our organisation? We must continue to inform and act, with as much teaching as vigilance and firmness. It is an prmoise we have made. Every incident on the field gives way ot, for us, analyses that allow us to improve our trainings. This matter moves us profoundly: from today onwards, it will be introduced in our processes as a case study, and will be a reference to heighten awareness amongst our agents.”
(*) Excerpt from the Thalys partnership charter: “We interact independently of any consideration relating to hierarchical position, gender, age, faith, belief, nationality, culture, ethnic origin and sexual orientation. We prohibit any form of discrimination.”