• Robert Spicer

Religious discrimination: Islamc headscarf: customer complaint:dismissal

Islamic headscarf

Customer complaint

Case Bougnaoui v Micropole SA (2017) Morning Star, May 12, European Court of Justice

Facts B was warned by her employer that it would be problematic if she wore an Islamic headscarf when ding customer-facing work. She continued to wear a headscarf and a customer complained. She was told to stop wearing the headscarf. She refused and was dismissed. She complained of religious discrimination. An internal rule of the company prohibited employees from wearing any visible sign of political, philosophical or religious beliefs. A French labour tribunal rejected her claim. The Court of Appeal upheld that decision. B appealed to the Court of Cassation which referred the matter to the ECJ.

Decision 1. B’s dismissal had not been caused by her refusal to comply with the company’s internal rule.

2. An employer who wants to take account of the wishes of a customer not to have the services of that employer provided by a worker wearing an Islamic headscarf could not be considered a genuine and determining occupational requirement.

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