EU Headscarf Ban in the Workplace is Facing Backlash

EU grants workplaces the ability to ban the headscarf as a religious symbol.

The European Union made a historic ruling that companies in Europe have the right to ban the headscarf[/tweetit] and all display of religious symbols in the workplace if they want to. While companies across the continents applauded the Court’s decision, religious groups condemned it saying it reduces their job opportunities.

EU Headscarf Ban in the Workplace is Facing Backlash[/tweetthis]

The European Court of Luxembourg has decided that companies are allowed to completely ban religious garments and symbols, as long as the prohibition extends to all groups and is not discriminatory. The Court also said customers have no right to ask employees to remove religious symbols or headscarves if the company itself has no such prohibitory policy.

This judgment is set to have a huge impact on the upcoming French elections. Immigration of Muslims is a key point of debate in the French elections, and just like America, the issue of immigration could play a pivotal role in tipping the election results.

The Court’s rule comes in context of the dismissal of two Muslim women from their jobs for refusing to remove their headscarves – Samira Achbita from Belgium and Asma Bougnaoui from France. In both cases, the Court clarified that if a company decides to ban any element in the attire that stood for a religion, philosophy or political party, it does not constitute as discrimination.

François Fillon, candidate in the French Presidential elections, has welcomed the Court’s decision. Fillon has a very tough stance on Muslim immigration, and feels the Court’s decision will help thousands of companies and employees enjoy “immense relief.” Fillon added, “a factor in cohesion and social peace,” which will eventually contribute to the peace of all European countries, particularly France.

Various secular, Muslim and Jewish groups have expressed their distaste for the ruling. Amnesty International warned that the ruling could easily encourage discrimination. European Rabbis expressed fears over the possibility the Court’s new directive could further fuel the hate crimes faced by religious groups by sending across the message that religious people are not welcome.


Follow the Conversation on Twitter