Companies in the European Union can ban “the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign” as it does “not constitute direct discrimination,” the European Union’s top law court ruled on Tuesday.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said it does not constitute “direct discrimination” if a firm has an internal rule banning the wearing of “any political, philosophical or religious sign”.
The court gave a judgment in the cases of two women, in France and Belgium, who were dismissed for refusing to remove hijabs.
The ECJ ruled on a case dating to 2003 when Samira Achbita, a Muslim, was employed as a receptionist by G4S security services in Belgium. Achbita was told that her wearing of a headscarf would not be tolerated because “the visible wearing of political, philosophical or religious signs” was contrary to the company’s position of neutrality.
About three years later, Achbita was dismissed from her job because of her “continuing insistence on wearing the Islamic headscarf at work.” She challenged the dismissal in Belgian courts.