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Employers are entitled to ban staff from wearing visible religious symbols, the European Union’s top law court ruled on Tuesday – its first decision on the issue of women wearing hijabs at work.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said it does not constitute “direct discrimination” if a firm has an internal rule banning the wearing of “any political, philosophical or religious sign.”
The ECJ gave a judgment in the cases of two women, in France and Belgium, who were dismissed for refusing to remove hijabs. The hijab is a headscarf worn by many Muslim women who feel it is part of their religion.
Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler, reporting from Paris, said: the court ruled businesses should have the freedom to choose how they operated, and that included choosing whether people would be allowed to wear items such as hijabs or crosses on chains.
“It’s going to be very complicated to rule on such cases within each country, because it will come under the jurisdiction of each separate nation in the EU because there are so many shades of grey, what constitutes discrimination against somebody’s religious freedom or not,” she said.
Source: Al Jazeera’s