Employment Law Bulletin April 2017

Religious Dress in the Workplace

Whatever you might have read elsewhere, the Court of Justice for the European Union has categorically not ruled that employers are allowed to ban the wearing of Islamic headscarves in the workplace. But what the Court does say in the case of Achbita v G4S Secure Solutions NV is controversial enough. The employer was a contracting company operating in Belgium and Ms Achbita was employed as a receptionist working for its clients. She is a Muslim, but for three years complied with an unwritten rule that employees should not wear visible signs of their religious, philosophical or political beliefs in the workplace. Back in 2006, however, she informed her employer that she would be coming into work wearing a headscarf. The employer adopted the formerly unwritten rule into its workplace regulations and dismissed her.