European Court of Justice's Decision of 15.7.2021 on the use of the Islamic veil in the workplace



With decision dated 15 July 2021 (joined cases C-804/18 and C-341/19), the European Court of Justice has ruled, among other things, that the use - in the workplace - of the Islamic veil or other recognizable signs of a religion may be prohibited as long as this limitation corresponds to a real need that the employer must prove


In particular, according to the Court, it is necessary to prove that in the absence of a corporate policy of neutrality, the company would suffer unfavorable consequences.


Furthermore, the prohibition of wearing the veil must be limited to what is strictly necessary and then it must be applied to all symbols and not only to large or showy ones such as the Islamic veil, otherwise there would be de facto discrimination.


In any case, the ultimate decision is of the individual member states. Having established the general principle by the European Court, national courts can take into account the specific context of the respective member state and, in particular, the most favorable national provisions regarding the protection of freedom of religion.


Avv. Guido Brocchieri


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