Contemporary Primary Sources: Press Release on Court of Justice of the European Union’s Ruling on Religious and Political Symbols in the Workplace

Two Muslim women who were prohibited by their respective employers from wearing a ḥijāb sued their employers on the grounds of religious discrimination. The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) decided whether these women had been unfairly dismissed by their respective employers when taking into account the 2000 EU directive on discrimination in the workplace. The ECJ ruled that the first employer’s internal directive against religious symbols was not applied in a directly discriminatory manner against the first woman. While indirect discrimination could be a possibility it “may be objectively justified by a legitimate aim.” As for the second case, the ECJ decided “that the willingness of an employer to take account of the wishes of a customer no longer to have the services of that employer provided by a worker wearing an Islamic headscarf cannot be considered a genuine and determining occupational requirement within the meaning of the directive.”

Read the press release.