Handshake refusal leads to fine

It made headlines nationwide last summer when a male examiner refused to shake hands with female students for religious reasons. 

The man, an external examiner who sat in on exams in the Jutland town of Herning, said his Muslim beliefs kept him from making physical contact with unknown women. 

Female students complained to the equality board, Ligebehandlingsnævnet, which on Friday ruled in favour of the students.

READ MORE: Students claim bias after examiner refuses to shake hands

The board ruled that the examiner’s employer, Horsens Statsskole, and the school, Herning HF & VUC, should pay 2,500 kroner in compensation costs. The board ruled that it was actually a warning sent in advance of the exams that told female students “it is best to not to try to shake [the examiner’s hand]”, and not the handshake refusal itself, that was discriminatory. 

“The board finds that the content of the message falls under the equality laws on harassment,” the ruling read.