EU courtroom guidelines public administrations might ban headscarves for workers – JURIST


The Courtroom of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled Tuesday that EU member state authorities our bodies and companies are allowed to ban their staff from sporting headscarves and different non secular symbols.

The case got here to the CJEU to resolve whether or not a “strict neutrality” non secular image coverage in workplaces amounted to discrimination opposite to EU regulation, particularly Council Directive 2000/78/EC on equal remedy in employment and occupation. Article 2 of the directive enshrines the precept of equal remedy, prohibiting each direct and oblique discrimination within the office, with an instance being on the grounds of faith.

The CJEU beforehand ruled {that a} coverage prohibiting shows of any non secular, political or philosophical image at work just isn’t direct discrimination. Nevertheless, the courtroom conceded that it might quantity to oblique discrimination if the rule affected members of a selected non secular group (akin to Muslims) greater than others.

The CJEU clarified its place, stating that such insurance policies wouldn’t quantity to oblique discrimination if “objectively justified by a official intention and if the technique of reaching that intention are acceptable and essential.” Notably, one other authorities company might enable its staff of all faiths to put on non secular symbols.

An worker who needed to put on a spiritual scarf to work in Ans, Belgium, was denied the request. Ans then applied a coverage of “strict neutrality,” stopping staff from sporting non secular or ideological symbols, which prompted the worker to sue for non secular discrimination.

In one other precedent set in July 2021, the CJEU dominated that corporations within the European Union might prohibit staff from sporting headscarves underneath sure circumstances to undertaking a picture of neutrality to clients. This earlier determination sparked criticism, with the Turkish Overseas Ministry condemning it as granting legitimacy to racism and contributing to the rise of Islamophobia in Europe.

The broader problem of non secular coverings, notably the scarf, stays contentious. European nations undertake various approaches, from bans on full-face veils to headscarves as non secular symbols in public areas. The CJEU’s ruling demonstrates a that member states can use their very own discretion in future selections.

The case additionally raised the query of whether or not a prohibition on the Islamic scarf would quantity to oblique discrimination based mostly on intercourse. The CJEU guidelines the query as inadmissible. Nevertheless, it provides to the dialogue that such legal guidelines foster elevated marginalisation of Muslim women in Europe.

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