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European court rules employers can ban staff from wearing religious clothing, jewelry

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That would include crosses and hijabs.

From The Catholic Herald: 

Employers will be able to ban staff from wearing ‘political, philosophical or religious’ symbols such as crosses, a European court has ruled, in a decision welcomed by right-wing politicians but criticized by some religious leaders.

The European Court of Justice ruled that employers are not allowed to target particular religions. But they are allowed to have a general policy forbidding the wearing of religious symbols.

The case was brought by two Muslim women, one in France and the other in Belgium, who had been fired from their jobs because they insisted on wearing the hijab (head covering).

The ECJ said: “An internal rule of an undertaking which prohibits the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign does not constitute direct discrimination.”

But the court also ruled that employers must have a blanket rule: they could not, for instance, ask a particular employee to remove a hijab simply because it was offending a customer…

…The Conference of European Rabbis said the ruling suggested that faith communities were not welcome in Europe.

The barrister Neil Addison told the Catholic Herald that the law would affect Christians, Muslims and those of other faiths. He added: “I see no problems for Christians in this judgment; in fact it should help to ensure that dress codes are applied fairly to all believers.”

Read more. 

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Deacon Greg Kandra
Headlines and Homilies
Deacon Greg Kandra is a Roman Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. For nearly three decades, he was a writer and producer for CBS News, where he contributed to a variety of programs and was honored with every major award in broadcasting. Deacon Greg now serves as Multimedia Editor for Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA.) He and his wife live in Forest Hills, New York.
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