Wearing the Hijab Might Be the EU’s Best Reason to Stay Out of Work


The European Union’s highest court on Thursday said companies in Europe ban women from wearing headscarves at workA decision that has implications for the balance between freedom of religion and employers’ right to implement policies that require religious neutrality.

The decision was based on separate lawsuits filed by two Muslim women in Germany who were suspended from work for wearing a headscarf, which is a headscarf. The court said company policies that prevent employees from wearing “any visible expression of political, philosophical or religious beliefs in the workplace” do not constitute direct discrimination as long as they apply to religious dress and symbols of all faiths.

But in further definition 2017 decisionThe European Court of Justice, which allows companies to ban headscarves in the workplace, said employers must provide evidence that such policies are necessary to meet a “genuine need” to do business “to present or avoid a neutral image to customers”. Court, social disputes,” he said.

Wearing the hijab has fueled debate in Europe for years and remains the focus of the politically explosive issue of Muslim integration. Human rights organizations argued that after the court decision, Muslim women would face oppression and exclusion in the workplace.

“Laws, policies and practices that ban religious attire are targeted manifestations of Islamophobia that seek to exclude Muslim women from public life or make them invisible,” Maryam H’madoun of the Open Society Justice Initiative said in a statement. Said. “Discrimination that looks like neutrality is actually the veil that needs to be lifted,” he said.

In contrast, in the United States, federal labor laws According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it requires employers to “allow applicants and employees to comply with religious dress and grooming practices.”

European court decision comes in a flash discrimination against MuslimsAnti-Semitism and anti-immigrant sentiment are also on the rise across the continent. Council of Europe warned This month, hate speech towards these groups, especially online, had become a “growing and dangerous trend” during the pandemic.

several countriesFrance, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands have all passed laws that effectively ban the full face veil in public places, but the head and shoulders veil did not fall into this category.

In recent years, however, the European Court of Justice and national courts in EU countries have supported policies that largely prohibit women from wearing headscarves while working in the private sector.

The issue has been hotly debated for years in Germany, home to the country’s largest religious minority group, five million Muslims. There were a number of cases, mostly involving applicants for public school positions and judges. In France, where Muslims make up about 1 in 10 people, the country’s highest court upheld Dismissal of a Muslim daycare worker in 2014 who refuses to wear a headscarf.

The European Court of Justice, headquartered in Luxembourg, interprets the laws of the European Union, which consists of 27 nations.

The case, which was settled on Thursday, has emerged from courts in Germany by two women who are special needs caregivers at a Hamburg non-profit organization and cashiers at a pharmacy chain. She objected to their dismissal from their jobs for wearing a headscarf, arguing that the dismissals violated their right to freedom of religion.

Either way, women got into trouble after returning to work from maternity leave. Women did not wear headscarves before taking leave from work for the birth of their children, but they started wearing headscarves on their return.

The caregiver’s employer, a social services association, suspended her twice for refusing to remove her headscarf, but the court ruled that she was not treated unfairly because the employer required another employee to also wear a religious cross. internal rules prohibiting the display of religious symbols.

The cashier’s employer, the Mueller pharmacy chain, transferred her to a location less visible to customers after she refused to remove her hijab, and then sent her home, instructing her to work without it. The court said the action was not discriminatory, as the company sought to project an unbiased image to its customers.


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