Customers: At Audi, resistance to gender language is growing

Audi HR Director Sabine Maaßen

"Instead of practicing gender-speaking, we should better concentrate on the further development of our vehicles, the lead through technology," complains a not insignificant Audi man from the development department. He is not the only one who thinks the Audiian spelling is "the greatest nonsense since the introduction of the defeat device in group engines". A VW employee even feels discriminated against and has filed a lawsuit against the gender language prescribed by HR director Sabine Maaßen at the regional court in Ingolstadt.

"We are of the opinion that a company cannot give its employees a specific type of language," said the lawyer for VW employee Burkhard Benecken. Audi has exceeded a limit with the linguistic guard rails that have been in force since March, which affects the personal rights of employees.

The lawyers are expecting a fundamental judgment as to whether a corporation may dictate that its employees use ideological language. Such a judgment on this question has not yet existed in Germany, said Benecken. That is why one is entering “completely new territory” with the lawsuit. The lawyers explained to the German Language Association (VDS), which supports the VW employee who complained: “Our client feels massively bullied by gender. He is appalled that Audi AG wants to dictatorially prescribe a language for its employees from above that does not even come close to being checked by the official spelling. "

Linguist criticizes sender speech at Audi

In fact, a new guideline for gender-sensitive language has been in effect in the Audi Group since the beginning of March. “Appreciation, openness, responsibility and integrity are the basis of our corporate culture,” says Sabine Maaßen, Head of Human Resources at Audi AG, explaining the guidelines. “We also make this clear in our language.” Communicating in a gender-sensitive manner is a question of respect and an expression of an attitude against discrimination and for diversity. “This is total rubbish,” complains the head of the development department.

Walter Krämer from the German Language Association (VDS) in Dortmund thinks Audi's approach is arrogant. He accuses the group of slouching. "Imposing a language that has no legal basis is strongly reminiscent of systems of injustice like that of the GDR or science fiction like '1984' by Orwell," said Krämer. Under the guise of equality, gender is sacrificing language as a means of communication.

“All people become brothers” or what?

If you ask Audi, it becomes clear that the enforcement of gender language rules seems to be rejected by the majority. In particular, hardly anyone wants to come out antigenic. “I am convinced,” one manager tells us, “that this linguistic nonsense will not last long”. He looks excitedly at the language regulation in relation to the Audi orchestra. “There would have to be Beethoven in terms of equality Ode an die Freude necessarily be rewritten. “All people become not only brothers, but brothers” would be the least, ”the engineer scoffs.








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