EU Court: Workplace Headscarf Ban Legal

The European Court of Justice has ruled that companies in the bloc may ban employees from wearing any religious or political symbols, including the Islamic headscarf. The highest court of the European Union said the ban does not constitute “direct discrimination” if a company’s stated rule encompasses affiliations of all kinds. The determining case considered that of a Muslim woman who was fired after she insisted in wearing a headscarf in Belgium. Amnesty International called the ruling “disappointing” and contends that it will encourage discrimination, whether or not that is the intention. “By ruling that company policies can prohibit religious symbols on the grounds of neutrality, they have opened a back door to precisely such prejudice,” Amnesty said in a statement.