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Precedent on wearing religious symbols in the workplace

Precedent on wearing religious symbols in the workplace

The Tenth Senate of the Federal Labor Court yesterday referred the dispute over the wearing of religious, political or other ideological symbols in the workplace to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ).

The plaintiff, of Muslim faith, is employed by the drugstore chain Müller. The company has generally prohibited its employees with customer contact from wearing large visible religious symbols in order to maintain its neutrality towards customers. Accordingly, it has prohibited the plaintiff from wearing a headscarf.

The case raises fundamental questions about the relationship between the employer's entrepreneurial freedom and the employee's freedom of religion, as well as the interplay between European law and national constitutional law. The BAG has referred these questions to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling.

Menold Bezler represented the company in all instances.