European Union Court Legalises Ban Of Headscarf At Workplace

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The Europan Union’s top court on Tuesday legalized that employers may bar their staff from wearing visible religious symbols, like the headscarf at the workplace. This is the first decision of the court in regard to the issue of Muslim women wearing headscarves to work.

This decision came on the eve of Dutch elections, wherein Muslim immigration has been a key issue. It was passed after the Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a judgment in the case of two women who were dismissed from their work in France and Belgium for refusing to remove their headscarves.

The logo of the European Court of Justice pictured outside the main courtroom in Luxembourg

The court in a statement said, “This internal rule of undertaking prohibits the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign does not constitute direct discrimination.” They also ruled that “However, in the absence of such a rule, 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 Islamic headscarf cannot be considered an occupational requirement that could rule out discrimination.”

The Open Society Justice Initiative, a group backed by the philanthropist George Soros which had supported the women that were dismissed, said it was disappointed by the ruling which it said: “weakens the guarantee of equality that is at the heart of the EU’s anti-discrimination directive.”

This rule did not sit well with the Muslims in the European countries.