Workers can be sacked for wearing headscarves, top EU court rules

Women in France and Belguim were recently dismissed after they refused to remove their headscarves.
Women in France and Belguim were recently dismissed after they refused to remove their headscarves.

Employers can now sack their workers if they wear religious symbols such as headscarves at work, the EU’s top court has ruled.

Women in France and Belgium were recently dismissed for refusing to remove their headscarves and took their cases to the court.

But the court ruled against them, stating an internal rule “which prohibits the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign does not constitute discrimination.”

The advocate general’s advice in the French case was that a rule banning employees from wearing religious symbols, particularly Islamic headscarves, was discrimination.

An opinion of an advocate general is followed by the court in the majority of case, but is not binding.