The European court came to the conclusion that the employer may impose a ban on the hijab in the workplace. This is stated in the corresponding opinion of the court of the European Union. The document concerns the case of Samira Abity — Muslim women, who worked as a Registrar in the Belgian branch of the British company G4S PLC. Having worked at the firm for three years, she asked permission to wear the hijab at work, however, was dismissed.
Obita challenged the decision in a Belgian court, demanding compensation. The Belgian court of cassation — court of appeal, which will soon begin consideration of the case, asked the Supreme court of the EU court — the European court to clarify the rules of the Union relating to discrimination.
According to counsel the court of the EU Juliana kokot, who wrote an explanation for the Belgian court, a ban on the wearing of hijab does not constitute direct discrimination on religious grounds, if it is based on the corporate policy of the company prohibiting the expression of political, philosophical and religious symbols in the workplace.
Kocot said that the ban could provide indirect religious discrimination, but “can be justified if it provides a legitimate policy of religious-ideological neutrality”. “While the employee cannot “opt out” of your field, colour, ethnic origin, age or disability, entering the premises of the employer, it is expected to be moderate in exercising their religion in the workplace; this also applies to religious practices, and religious behavior, and, as in this case, of clothing”, — said in the text of the lawyer.
As noted by The Wall Street Journal, opinion of the European court is not binding decisions, but often becomes the determining factor.