EU companies could ban headscarves at work


A woman, wearing a headscarf and a protective mask, walks on Place du Trocadéro near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, May 2, 2021. Photo/REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

BRUSSELS – Companies in the European Union (EU) are allowed to ban hijab in the workplace as long as the rules do not discriminate against certain employees.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled on Thursday (13/10/2022).

The decision comes amid the case of a Muslim woman who sued a Belgian company in 2018 after she was told she could not wear a headscarf or other headgear during her internship at the company.

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The company defended the ban by explaining that it was part of the company’s policy of neutrality, which prohibits workers from wearing any type of headgear, including hats, beanies or scarves, or religious symbols and is not directed against anyone in particular.

In its ruling, the CJEU upheld the Belgian company’s policy, acknowledging that there was no direct discrimination in the ban.

“A company’s internal rules that prohibit the use of visible religious, philosophical or spiritual signs do not constitute direct discrimination if they apply to all workers in a general and undifferentiated way,” the court said in a statement. communicated.

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The CJEU’s decision comes after announcing last year that EU companies could ban headscarves or other types of head coverings as long as the policy could be “justified by the company’s need to present a neutral image to customers or to prevent socially discordant behavior.”

The question of allowing Muslims to cover their heads or faces in the workplace or in public has been the subject of heated debate across the European Union for years and has been at the center of the debate on integration Muslims in the European community.

Zera Carpenter

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