Dress code

E.U. court sides with French woman fired for wearing head scarf

la Reine Jeanne the salafi district in Avignon (Bernard Wis/Paris Match via Getty Images)

A preliminary opinion of the European Union’s highest court has come down in favor of a French woman who lost her job at an IT consultancy after refusing to remove her head scarf.

Asma Bougnaoui was fired from Micropole SA, a digital engineering consulting firm, in June 2009 after a client complained about her hijab. The company asked her not to wear it in the presence of that client, and Bougnaoui declined to comply.

European court of justice advocate Eleanor Sharpston said in an advisory opinion that Bougnaoui’s dismissal amounted to direct discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief — which goes against an E.U. directive. The court is expected to formally rule on the case in the next few months.

In a similar case this spring, a different advocate, Juliane Kokott, offered the somewhat contradictory opinion that a company could keep a female Muslim employee from wearing her head scarf, but that such a policy also needed to apply to all religious clothing worn by employees and not just those who practice Islam.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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