CJEU - C-188/15 / Judgement / Asma Bougnaoui v. Micropole SA

Country

FranceFrance

Title

CJEU - C-188/15 / Judgement / Asma Bougnaoui v. Micropole SA

View full Case

Year

2017

Decision/ruling/judgment date

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Crime type(s) concerned/related

Discrimination

Related hate bias motivation

Religion

Groups affected

Muslims

Court/Body type

European Court

Court/Body

Court of Justice (Grand Chamber)

Key facts of the case

The case concerns the Micropole Univers SA's (‘Micropole’) dismissal of Ms Bougnaoui because of her refusal to remove her Islamic headscarf when she was sent on assignment. Ms Bougnaoui considered the dismissal to be discriminatory.
The Tribunal ordered Micropole to pay compensation in respect of her period of notice because it had failed to indicate in its letter of dismissal the gravity of Ms Bougnaoui’s alleged misconduct, and dismissed the remainder of the action on the ground that the restriction of Ms Bougnaoui’s freedom to wear the Islamic headscarf was justified by her contact with customers of that company and proportionate to Micropole’s aim of protecting its image and of avoiding conflict with its customers’ beliefs.

Main reasoning/argumentation

According to the Court, it is only in very limited circumstances that a characteristic related, in particular, to religion may constitute a genuine and determining occupational requirement. Such a characteristic may constitute such a requirement only ‘by reason of the nature of the particular occupational activities concerned or of the context in which they are carried out’. Consequently, the willingness of an employer to take account of the wishes of a customer no longer to have the services of that employer provided by a worker wearing an Islamic headscarf cannot be considered a genuine and determining occupational requirement within the meaning of that provision.

Is the case related to the application of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia, the Racial Equality Directive?

Key issues (concepts, interpretations) clarified by the case

The concept of a ‘genuine and determining occupational requirement’, within the meaning of that provision, refers to a requirement that is objectively dictated by the nature of the occupational activities concerned or of the context in which they are carried out. It cannot, however, cover subjective considerations, such as the willingness of the employer to take account of the particular wishes of the customer.

Results (sanctions, outcome) and key consequences or implications of the case

The Court ruled that Article 4(1) 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 willingness of an employer to take account of the wishes of a customer no longer to have the services of that employer provided by a worker wearing an Islamic headscarf cannot be considered a genuine and determining occupational requirement within the meaning of that provision.

Key quotation in original language and translated into English with reference details

 "Consequently, the answer to the question put by the referring court is that Article 4(1) of Directive 2000/78 must be interpreted as meaning that the willingness of an employer to take account of the wishes of a customer no longer to have the services of that employer provided by a worker wearing an Islamic headscarf cannot be considered a genuine and determining occupational requirement within the meaning of that provision."

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