Employers may ban headscarves in workplace — European Union top court
Employers may ban headscarves in workplace — European Union top court
GettyThe European Court of Justice will determine on Tuesday whether an employer can prohibit the burqa
16 March, 2017, 00:45
Critics called the European Union move "a thinly veiled measure targeting Muslims", according to AlJazeera. Le Pen, who refused to don a headscarf while visiting Lebanon last month, has called for an outright ban on all religious symbols in public in France. "I can not think of another symbol that will affect hundreds of thousands of people in Europe", Warda el-Kaddouri told Al Jazeera from Brussels.
The Court's decision confirms the position generally taken by the courts in Belgium.
Kim Lecoyer, president of Belgium-based Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera the ruling legitimised discrimination on the grounds of religion.
This after a French and a Belgian woman were dismissed from their place of work for refusing to remove their headscarves.
France already bans headscarves and other religious symbols in classrooms.
Al Jazeera's Natacha Butler, reporting from Paris, said Tuesday's ruling is complex. But the rule could still be justified if it was "genuinely pursued in a consistent and systematic manner" to project an "image of neutrality".
He said the vague ruling could end up employers deciding everything that an employer wears.
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The Court's ruling notes that any headscarf or similar ban needs to be part of a company-wide rule regulating dress for everyone.
In Belgium, Samira Achbita was sacked when, after three years of employment, she began wearing a hijab to work at the security firm G4S, reportsthe BBC.
In Europe, your employer can bar you from wearing your Islamic headscarf and other visible religious symbols at the workplace.
Samira Achbita sued when G4S fired her in 2006, claiming religious discrimination. The company subsequently introduced a formal ban.
The summary added that such a ban may constitute "indirect discrimination" if it is established that the apparently neutral obligation it imposes results in people adhering to a particular religion or belief being put at a particular disadvantage.
"Nobody should be forced to choose between their religion and their profession", said Adina Portaru, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom International in Brussels.
The Court ruled that the fact that a customer of the employer did not want to be served by an employee wearing an Islamic headscarf, did not amount to a genuine and determining occupational requirement and could therefore not serve as justification for discrimination. The other case involved design engineer Asma Bougnaoui, who was sacked from her IT job when a customer said his staff was "embarrassed" by her headscarf, the Guardian reported. It can not be done case-by-case, based on the complaint of a customer.
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