The European Union’s top court has ruled that wearing headscarves in the workplace may be banned for the purposes of maintaining a ‘neutral image’ among others, on Thursday.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has decided that any wearing of visible religious or political symbols, including the hijab may be prohibited but must only be upon the genuine need of the employers.
“A prohibition on wearing any visible form of expression of political, philosophical or religious beliefs in the workplace may be justified by the employer’s need to present a neutral image towards customers or to prevent social disputes,” the court held.
“However, that justification must correspond to a genuine need on the part of the employer and, in reconciling the rights and interests at issue, the national courts may take into account the specific context of their Member State and, in particular, more favourable national provisions on the protection of freedom of religion,” the court also said.
The ruling was made on the case brought by two Muslim women in Germany who were prohibited by their employers to wear headscarves upon returning back to work from a parental leave.