In a recent statement, companies in the EU have been provided the freedom to ban the noticeable signs of any particular religion, including headscarves. An EU court has declared it to enable reasonable restrictions. These rules need to be applied equally to all workers.
In their latest ruling on Thursday, the EU’s top court asked employers to cater to the reasons behind their own understanding of banning religious signs based on legitimate aims.
Banning Religious Signs and Belgium’s Incident
The ban on visible wear regardless of religion has been a major issue in Europe for several years. This issue has been an impactful assertion in order to keep the EU divided for years. However, it may concern employers if this ruling seems to have occurred by keeping any particular religion behind or being effectively discriminated against by the prohibition. Then, those companies will be asked to demonstrate the legitimacy of their understanding of the prohibition to a court.
The ruling came to center on a case related to a Muslim woman. In a Belgian company, a Muslim woman had applied to work as a trainee for a six-week period, where she had been told about the prohibition on wearing a headscarf. This rule is applicable to all of their workers, as the firm stated in this particular case. They talked about their neutrality rule, which means covering your head is prohibited on company premises. It may be anything from a hat or cap to any kind of scarf. Then this woman decided to go to a court in Belgium, as she wanted justice for her to wear her religious sign. This subsequently sought considerations or legal advice from the European Union’s Court of Justice (CJEU), residing in Luxembourg. However, the CJEU also explained that the neutrality rule of any employer could be adjudged, as indirectly discriminatory. This may happen if the neutrality rule seems to be resulting in someone’s disadvantage in the case of a particular belief or orientation.
Directing the banning issue, Worldwide
In order to have a scrutinized look into the particular dispute, the banning of religious signs issue needs to be considered by any Brussels work in order to find out the real perspectives on this matter. The court prominently addressed the issue of discrimination when the difference in treatment will occur eventually. Thus, to avoid such occurrences and negative impacts on the company’s image, employers are asked to have a legitimate reason or any authorized aim to have a prohibition on visible religious signs that employees will not constitute indirect discrimination. This demonstration will be asked by the court to the employers of that particular company.
In last year’s judgement, the CJEU declared the legitimate version of the ban on religious signs for EU companies. They have been granted authorized permission to prohibit employees from wearing religious symbols, most notably a headscarf, under certain conditions. It may look like an act of projecting the image of neutrality to their consumers.
In Germany, banning religious signs, especially headscarves, at work for women has been a contentious rule for years. This certainly seems to be applied mostly to aspiring teachers at local schools as well as trainee judges. On the other hand, France is home to the largest Muslim minority in Europe. In 2004, France banned visible religious attire as well as Islamic headscarves in public schools.
Taking a Look at Human Rights Law
In the month of October 2010, France passed a law banning the hijabi, which goes with Act No.2010-1192 under International Human Rights Law (IHRL). It stipulated that “No one may, in a public space, wear any article of clothing intended to conceal the face”. The punishment for these legal violations will be carried out with imprisonment as well as fines.
According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as per Article 18, “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. This right shall include the freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of his choice, as well as the freedom to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, and teaching, either individually or in community with others, and in public [emphasis mine] or private.”
These contradictory visions in the legal establishment of the religious sign ban will be seen to affect the practitioners of lawful punishment by undergoing several discriminations and abuses. France, like India as well as most countries around the globe, has ratified the Convention by signing. This results in the legal obligation to respect, protect, and implement the Covenant’s provisions under domestic jurisdiction.