Government offices can ban the wearing of religious clothing, as long as the policy is applied equally, the European Court of Justice has ruled
The European Union’s highest court has ruled that government employers can ban religious dress in order to preserve public life “A completely neutral administrative environment.” This decision came after a Muslim woman filed a lawsuit against her employer in the municipality in Belgium because he asked her to remove her hijab at work.
The European Court of Justice decision, published on Tuesday, states that the ban on public wearing of religious clothing is legal, provided that it applies to employees of all faiths, and that implementation is limited to… “What is absolutely necessary” To maintain an atmosphere of neutrality.
The court added that state authorities are also justified in allowing workers to wear religious or political symbols, as long as their dress policies are applied indiscriminately.
The ruling applies only to backroom workers or those who do not normally interact with the public. In 2021, the same court ruled that women in public roles could be fired for refusing to remove their hijab.
The latest case was brought to the European Court of Justice after a Muslim woman working for a local authority in the Belgian town of Anse was told that she could not wear a hijab at work, even though her position rarely involved interacting with the public. A lawsuit was filed against the municipality under the pretext of this “Signs of secret damnation” Like cruciform earrings, they were tolerated.
The case reached the Labor Court in Liège before being taken to the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice. Last year, the court issued a Similar ruling Regarding private companies, in a case also brought by a Belgian Muslim.
The issue of allowing Islamic dress in the workplace has been controversial for years in Europe, as part of a broader debate about the integration of Muslims into traditional Christian societies.
In France, which has the largest Muslim population in the European Union, the constitution stipulates a strict separation of government and religion. In 2004, the country banned the wearing of all Islamic head coverings in schools, following the decision to ban full face coverings such as the niqab and burqa in public places in 2010.
Since then, similar laws have been passed in Belgium, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, and several states in Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and others.