Ongoing

E.U. court upholds ban on head scarves at work

Female employees in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

The European Union’s highest court issued the advisory opinion on Tuesday that companies can ban female Muslim employees from wearing headscarves to work, provided that the condition applies to any religious adornment worn by employees and that Islam is not singled out.

The decision by the European Court of Justice comes as part of the case involving Samira Achbita, a Muslim woman terminated from her job as a receptionist for the Belgian security company G4S. She’d worked there for several years before insisting she be allowed to wear her headscarf at work, eventually suing her employer in a case that is ongoing. The European Court of Justice’s opinion came after a request in that case for clarification on European law in the matter.

Formal judgement will likely come later this year, but in the meantime, such advisory opinions are often reliable gauges of the court’s intentions in its interpretations of European law for the 28 nations in the E.U.

Dr. Juliane Kokott, an advocate general with the court, cautioned that the opinion did not give companies carte blanche to prohibit all religious garb on the job.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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