European top court bans use of visible religious symbols such as hijabs at workplaces
The use of religious symbols, mainly hijabs, has been controversial for many decades and across many countries. Some countries allow the wearing of religious symbols as a support to their religious freedoms. In contrast, some countries have banned such logos to avoid any disputes or religion-based discrimination. On Thursday, while hearing a case, European Unions Top Court allowed workplaces to ban the wearing of headscarves, visible religious or political symbols under certain conditions.
Hijab: A Religious Identity of Muslim Women
This topic arises in front of the court when two women, one who is a special needs caretaker at a children centre in Hamburg and others who work as a sales assistant and cashier in a drugstore chain of Mueller, file legal cases in German Courts. Both women didn’t wear hijabs before but decided to do so after they returned from parental leave. Hijabs are religious scarves worn by Muslim women to cover their heads and shoulders. Their employers ask them to either leave the job or not to wear them to work or show a court document. The case was then referred to the EU tribunal.
“Justification Must Correspond to a Genuine Need”
While hearing the case, the court declared that such bans could be allowed to present a neutral image by the employers. “A prohibition on wearing any visible form of expression of political, philosophical or religious belief in the workplace may be justified by the employer’s need to present a neutral image towards customers or to prevent social disputes”, said the court. Later the court also added, “However that justification must correspond to a genuine need on the part of the employers.”
Court Gives Germany Power to Decide the “Verdict”
The controversy of wearing hijabs keeps on intensifying now and then in many parts of Europe. In 2017, the EU court had issued an order allowing companies to ban their employees from wearing religious symbols under certain conditions. The court has left the final decision on Germany to decide whether if there was any discrimination or any violations of religious freedoms. Germany has the largest religious minority population of Muslims leaving. This would be a tough decision on their part to decide what to do. Some political leaders have even decided to include this matter in their political plan to win the favour of the Muslim community.