Banning headscarves at work is legal in the European Union

The European Union’s highest court ruled last Tuesday that private companies are authorized to prohibit female employees from wearing headscarves at job. It stated that banning “the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign” cannot be found as direct discrimination.

The ruling of the European Court of Justice dictated that enterprises were legitimized to forbid these symbols so as to project a neutral image to the public. However, customers will not be authorized to request female workers to remove headscarves if the company has no regulations disallowing religious symbols.

Countries such as France, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands have already passed laws to ban full face-covering veils in public and government spaces or are considering doing so. Precisely, the ruling on this politically explosive issue appears when the European Union faces a critical election season, with races in the Netherlands, France and Germany.

With anti-immigrant and anti-Islam populism increasing in many European countries, the ruling of the European Court of Justice will be binding for the 28 member states of the Union.

German Division Over Refugees

The leaders of Germany’s coalition parties are not agreeing as how to answer the high demand of refugees. The main disagreement amongst them is about how and where to process these people. Right now Germany is the largest refugee host of Europe, and it is expected that in 2015 they will host 1 million refugees. At the moment, Bavaria is the German Region that is hosting most of them and some politicians have demanded of Merkel to slow down the rapidly growing flow of refugees and to create camps all over the country instead of just Bavaria. Other German politicians have demanded even tougher measures.