The ban must apply to all political, religious beliefs.
The top European Union court has ruled that employers can ban the Islamic headscarf from the workplace. From the BBC:
The European Court of Justice (ECJ), ruled on Tuesday morning that employers are allowed to ban workers from the “visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign” including headscarves.
The ruling was prompted by the case of a receptionist who was fired from security company G4S in Belgium for wearing a headscarf to work.
However, the court said “the ban must be based on internal company rules requiring all employees to ‘dress neutrally.'”
The private businesses can ban religious, political, and philosophical symbols as long as the ban applies “to all religious and political beliefs.” From Fox News:
In this case, the ECJ ruled that companies should be allowed to have policies banning the wearing of religious or political symbols.
“The court of justice finds that G4S’s internal rule refers to the wearing of visible signs of political, philosophical or religious beliefs and therefore covers any manifestation of such beliefs without distinction. The rule thus treats all employees to the undertaking in the same way, notably by requiring them, generally and without any differentiation, to dress neutrally,” the court said in a statement.
Samira Achbita sued when G4S fired her in 2006, claiming religious discrimination. But when hired, the security firm had an “unwritten rule” about no religious symbols in the workplace.
G4S has since written in the rule into its regulations.
The ban does not apply to customer complaints:
“The willingness of an employer to take account of the wishes of a customer no longer to have the services of that employer provided by a worker wearing an Islamic headscarf cannot be considered a genuine and determining occupational requirement,” the court said.
That ruling came from a case in France. Asma Bougnaoui lost her job at the Micropole firm after a customer complained about her headscarf.
The EU court said that a court in France will “have to determine whether the company in this case had dismissed Ms Bougnaoui solely to satisfy a customer or in accordance with a wider internal prohibition on religious symbols.”