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France delivery driver to be deported after refusing to take kosher food orders

Illustrative: A Deliveroo driver is seen in traffic in north London, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Robert Stevens, File)
Illustrative: A Deliveroo driver is seen in traffic in north London, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Robert Stevens, File)

A court in eastern France convicts a delivery driver of anti-Semitic discrimination for refusing to take orders for kosher food, and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin says the Algerian man would be deported after he completes his prison sentence.

The conviction in the city of Strasbourg came two days after a regional Jewish institution, the Israelite Consistory of the Bas-Rhin region, said two kosher restaurants had reported that drivers working for Deliveroo refused to handle their food because they didn’t want to deliver to Jews.

The group and restaurants filed a legal complaint, the consistory said Tuesday, denouncing what it called “openly anti-Semitic discrimination.” Only one deliverer was ultimately involved in the court action.

The interior minister tweets that the Algerian man, who was in France illegally, had been convicted and handed a four-month prison sentence.

“I decided to expel from the national territory the food ‘deliverer’…who said he did not want to handle deliveries to Jewish clients,” Darmanin writes.

The Strasbourg prosecutor’s office had opened an investigation into “discrimination based on ethnic origin in the framework of providing a service,” according to a prosecutor’s aide.

Deliveroo spokesman Damien Steffan said Tuesday on local broadcaster France Bleu that the company thinks “anti-Semitic acts, like all racist or discriminatory acts of all kinds, are unacceptable.” Deliveroo has around 14,000 drivers in France and has seen business grow considerably during the coronavirus pandemic.

The case drew the national government’s attention amid long-running efforts to fight anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination. France’s minister for citizenship issues, Marlene Schiappa, met Tuesday with the management of Deliveroo France.

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