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EU court rules work place headscarf ban legal

Brussels: The European Court of Justice on Tuesday has ruled that firms can ban their employees from wearing headscarves and other visible religious symbols.

It is a first case of the top court which created legal dispute over right of Muslim women to wear hijab at work.

“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.

“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,” reads statement.

The judgement was given in cases of women who were dismissed from their jobs to refuse the removal of headscarves.

The Luxembourg-based court observed that the judgement can lead to “indirect discrimination” for those adhering to particular religion like Muslims.

Francois Fillon, French politician has announced the judgement “an immense relief” which would lead to social peace.

A campaign group which was backing the women has noticed that it would threaten job security of Muslim women and said that many Muslim women could be dismissed after the statement.