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CJEU Case C-188/15 / Opinion

Asma Bougnaoui and Association de défense des droits de l’homme (ADDH) v Micropole SA

Policy area:
Employment and social policy
Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Advocate General
Decision date:

Key facts of the case:

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Social policy — Directive 2000/78/EC — Equal treatment — Discrimination based on religion or belief — Genuine and determining occupational requirement — Meaning — Customer’s wish not to have services provided by a worker wearing an Islamic headscarf.

Outcome of the case:

I therefore propose that, in answer to the question referred, the Court should reply to the Cour de Cassation (Court of Cassation, France) as follows:

  1. A rule laid down in the workplace regulations of an undertaking which prohibits employees of the undertaking from wearing religious signs or apparel when in contact with customers of the business involves direct discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, to which neither Article 4(1) of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation nor any of the other derogations from the prohibition of direct discrimination on grounds of religion or belief which that directive lays down applies. That is a fortiori the case when the rule in question applies to the wearing of the Islamic headscarf alone.
  2.  Where there is indirect discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, Article 2(2)(b)(i) of Directive 2000/78 should be construed so as to recognise that the interests of the employer’s business will constitute a legitimate aim for the purposes of that provision. Such discrimination is nevertheless justified only if it is proportionate to that aim.