The European Union’s top law court has ruled that European employers can now ban their employees from wearing visible religious symbols, including the headscarf.
“It isn’t direct discrimination if a firm has an internal rule banning the wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign,” said the European Court of Justice.
The headscarf issue is a big one in Europe. Critics are saying that the new ruling is a thinly veiled jibe at discrimination against Muslim women who wear headscarves. Last year, the French police harassed a woman for wearing a burkini on the beach.
Two Muslim women were sacked for refusing to remove their headscarves. One was from France, and the other from Belgium, and their cases were brought to the European Court of Justice, which issued a joint judgement in the matter. Samira Achbita was a receptionist in a Belgian firm, who decided to wear the headscarf after three years at the company. However, she was fired shortly after. Asma Bougnaoui was fired from the IT company where she worked because a customer complained about being embarrassed by her attire.
Groups and NGOs that have been working against Islamophobia have said that this kind of decision will have massive economic repercussions as many employees will now feel uncomfortable in their workplace. The ruling has the possibility to make not only women who wear headscarves uncomfortable, but also Sikh men with turbans, and Jewish men with kippas.
Of course, Twitter did not sit quiet and a lot of outrage has pouring out on the social network.