Dutch Choir Guilty of Discriminating Against Woman in Wheelchair

The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights has ruled that a choir has discriminated against a woman in a wheelchair by denying her a spot as a choir member.
At the beginning of August, the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights ruled that a choir had discriminated against a woman in a wheelchair by denying her a spot as a member.

According to the choir, participation was not possible because everyone should be able to stand during a performance. The choir did not research options to let the woman participate.

Since June 14, 2016, discrimination based on a handicap or chronic disease is prohibited in the Netherlands when offering goods or services. This also means that cultural institutions cannot refuse people based on a disability. If someone cannot participate in an activity and this person requests an adjustment, the provider of goods or services is obliged to research different options.

Participants 'must stand'

The woman who sought a position in the choir had suffered a stroke, which caused her to be paralysed on her left side. She had first expressed interest in participating in the choir via email, in which she explained her disability.

After her first test, she received an invitation to sit for a second test, but following this session she was told that further participation was not possible, because everyone should be able to stand and perform a choreography.

The choir rejected her without researching a solution, nor did it enter into a conversation with the woman to find a solution together, although this is common practice. The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights therefore concludes that this constituted discrimination based on a handicap or chronic disease.