The European Court of Justice has ruled that headscarves, or the traditional hijab, can now legally be banned in the workplace. Employers are now entitled to prohibit workers from “visible wearing of any political, philosophical, or religious sign”, according to BBC.
However, the ban must be based on internal company rules requiring all employees to “dress neutrally,” and if it was only applied to Muslim members of staff, it could still constitute as “direct discrimination.” It also cannot be banned on behalf of a customer.
The ruling was prompted by the case of two women, one in Belgium and one in France, who were dismissed from work for refusing to remove their headscarves.
Samira Achbita, a receptionist for Belgian security company G4S, lost her job after she began wearing a headscarf to work and refused to take it off, claiming she was being discriminated on the grounds of her religion.
The second woman, Design engineer Asma Bougnaoui at consultancy company Micropole was dismissed after a customer complained about headscarf. Bougnaoui reportedly took her case to the Court of Cassation in France.