But a campaign group backing the women said it could shut many Muslim women out of the workforce and European rabbis said the court had worsened rising hate crime by sending a message that “faith communities are no longer welcome”.The president of the Conference of European Rabbis, Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, said: “This decision sends a signal to all religious groups in Europe.” The United Sikhs advocacy group said the “disturbing” ruling allowed employers to override fundamental human rights.
Saving the planet and its people has taken a back seat to saving the church (if saving Earth ever was a real goal).
“An internal rule of an undertaking which prohibits the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign does not constitute direct discrimination,” the court said in a statement.
“However, in the absence of such a rule, the willingness of an employer to take account of the wishes of a customer no longer to have the employer's services provided by a worker wearing an Islamic headscarf cannot be considered an occupational requirement that could rule out discrimination.” The Luxembourg-based court found that a headscarf ban may also constitute “indirect discrimination” if people adhering to a particular religion or belief, such as Muslims, are put at a particular disadvantage.
Two employees in Belgium and France had brought the case to the ECJ after being dismissed for refusing to remove their headscarves, which did not cover the face.
The Belgian woman had been working as a receptionist for G4S Secure Solutions, which has a general ban on wearing visible religious or political symbols, while the French claimant is an IT consultant who was told to remove her headscarf after a client complained.