Following our recent article titled "
Attorney General backs ban on wearing headscarves in the
workplace", the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is
revisiting the issue of Islamic dress in the workplace. In this
latest case, a Muslim woman who worked as a design engineer for
French IT consultancy Micropole SA was sacked after refusing to
take off her hijab during client meetings.
Eleanor Sharpston, the Advocate General giving her opinion on
the matter, supports the claimant's position. She states that a
company policy demanding that an employee removes her hijab when in
contact with clients constitutes unlawful direct discrimination.
While the Equal Treatment Framework Directive (2000/78/EC) allows
for tight rules on appearance if it is a "genuine and
determining occupational requirement", the Advocate General
contends that such an exception cannot apply to an IT company in
The Advocate General's opinion is not binding on the ECJ,
however it can be extremely influential in the ECJ's final
determination of a matter. The previous case that came before the
ECJ involved a company that proposed to ban all religious items,
including headscarves, to enforce a neutral dress code. In this
instance, Attorney General Kokott stated there is no direct
discrimination where there is a general ban in the workplace from
wearing religious symbols.
With the ECJ issuing final judgments on both of these cases
later this year, it will interest many employers to see how the ECJ
interprets the increasingly contested issue of religious dress in
the workplace. Given the conflicting opinions above, clarity from
the ECJ is urgently required.
Dentons is the world's first polycentric global law firm. A
top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm
is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent
and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways.
Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the
communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows
that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully
completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business
challenge. Now the world's largest law firm, Dentons'
global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local,
national and global needs of private and public clients of any size
in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
April 2015 saw the reshaping of family-friendly leave with the birth of Shared Parental Leave (SPL). Can employers offer enhanced contractual pay to mothers/primary adopters but not to fathers/partners?
Eine zum 1. Oktober 2016 in Kraft tretende Gesetzesänderung kann einen erheblichen Einfluss auf die Standard-Arbeitsverträge vieler Unternehmen in Deutschland haben.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).