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CJEU Case C-157/15 / Judgment

Samira Achbita and Centrum voor gelijkheid van kansen en voor racismebestrijding v G4S Secure Solutions NV.

Policy area:
Employment and social policy
Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Court (Grand Chamber)
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
14/03/2017

Key facts of the case:

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Social policy — Directive 2000/78/EC — Equal treatment — Discrimination based on religion or belief — Workplace regulations of an undertaking prohibiting workers from wearing visible political, philosophical or religious signs in the workplace — Direct discrimination — None — Indirect discrimination — Female worker prohibited from wearing an Islamic headscarf.

Outcome of the case:

On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

Article 2(2)(a) of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation must be interpreted as meaning that the prohibition on wearing an Islamic headscarf, which arises from an internal rule of a private undertaking prohibiting the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign in the workplace, does not constitute direct discrimination based on religion or belief within the meaning of that directive.

By contrast, such an internal rule of a private undertaking may constitute indirect discrimination within the meaning of Article 2(2)(b) of Directive 2000/78 if it is established that the apparently neutral obligation it imposes results, in fact, in persons adhering to a particular religion or belief being put at a particular disadvantage, unless it is objectively justified by a legitimate aim, such as the pursuit by the employer, in its relations with its customers, of a policy of political, philosophical and religious neutrality, and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary, which it is for the referring court to ascertain.