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>> Private employers can ban staff from wearing Islamic headscarves. That's the decision from the European Union's highest court on Tuesday. Under certain conditions, employees can be forbidden from wearing visible religious symbols. It's the first ruling of what's become a major political issue across Europe. European court of justice looked at the two cases.
In the first,a Belgium firm had a ruling barring employees who dealt with customers from wearing visible religious and political symbols to protect a public image of neutrality. The court ruled the company's not guilty of discrimination if it meets certain other conditions. Meanwhile, a French business dismissed a software engineer for refusing to remove her head scarf.
The ECJ says it may have breached EU anti-discrimination laws on religious grounds if it did so not because of a general internal rule, but just because a client objected. The ruling disappointing for the Open Society Justice Initiative. It says the results weakens the guarantee of equality at the hearts of the EU's anti discriminatory directive.
The judgment comes on the eve of a Dutch election in which Muslim immigration has been a key issue. France also due to vote for a new President next month. There too the far right's anti immigration is riding high in opinion polls.