Islamic Hijab wearing female staff can be sacked by employer, Top European court rules

March 14, 2017 | By | Reply More

Top EU court ruled against women in France saying: ‘The visible wearing of any religious sign does not constitute direct discrimination.

womenTwo registered cases were taken to the court by women in France and Belgium who were sacked for refusing to remove their headscarves.

‘However the court ruling says the willingness of an employer to take account of the wishes of a customer no longer to have the employer’s services provided by a worker wearing an an Hijab cannot be considered an occupational requirement that could rule out discrimination.’

French company that sacked a software engineer for refusing to remove her headscarf may have breached European laws barring discrimination on religious grounds if it did so not because of a general internal rule but just because a particular client objected.

The controversial decision came as Dutch election in which Muslim immigration has been a key issue and a bellwether for attitudes to migration and refugee policies across Europe.

The Islamic hijab is a contentious issue in many European countries, notably France, which attaches importance to the separation of state and religious institutions, the France’s anti-immigration far-right National Front party is seen front runner strongly in an election this spring.

The court’s ruling of a Belgian woman working at the front office for G4S Secure Solutions, which has imposed complete ban on wearing visible religious or political symbols.

The European court’s advocate general strongly recommended that companies ban headscarves as long as a general ban on other symbols was in place. Companies should though consider the conspicuousness of such symbols and the nature of the employee’s activities.

The EU court’s verdict will also cover a French IT consultant who was told to not to wear her headscarf after a client complained.

The French advocate general’s advice in the case was that a rule banning employees from wearing religious symbols when in contact with customers was discrimination, particularly when it only applied to Islamic headscarves.

An opinion of an advocate general is not binding but is followed by the court in the majority of cases.

Press journalist for HRO media – Ignacio Damigo reports.

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Category: International

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