The local authority in the English county of Devon has ordered cab driver Denise Said to remove three English flag bumper stickers from her vehicle, accusing her of breaching equality laws.
A complaint from a rival cab firm prompted the Teignbridge Council to send a notice letter to Miss Said, claiming that displaying the English St. George's Cross flag sticker on her taxi would give foreigners a "disadvantage in their day to day life," the U.K.'s Daily Express reported.
The council said it will refuse to renew the driver's license unless she removes the stickers.
Miss Said told the paper she refuses to comply with the order.
"I think it's pathetic. I believe the council is implying that I am racist but nothing could be further from the truth," she said. "I've had a few foreign people in my cab and I've asked them if they find it offensive and they don't in the slightest. In fact, one told me 'your country has gone mad.'"
"You only have to sneeze now for someone to find it offensive," she added. "I've asked a solicitor who says I'm not doing anything wrong. The upsetting thing is that I could lose my livelihood and my home if they take away my license."
Teignbridge Council said the stickers, which featured the words "Local Driver" displayed on a red cross, was not acceptable.
"I am a local driver and have been driving in Newton Abbott for 16 years," Miss Said told the Daily Express. "I'm British, I'm a local driver — where is the problem? I don't discriminate against anyone who gets into my car."
A council spokesman said that advertisements or signs "that do not comply with our equality duties, or cause offense because words or signs carry a certain inference, breach" the authority's Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy.
"In this instance the English flag sign combined with the words Local Driver could put other people who don't share either of those characteristics at a disadvantage in their day to day life."
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