Muslim scarves in the workplace give German courts a headache

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Muslim scarves in the workplace give German courts a headache

EU court says headscarves can be banned at work under certain conditions

Sabine Siebold and Ingrid Melander

Companies may ban Muslim employees from wearing a headscarf under certain conditions, the EU’s top court said on Thursday in a ruling on two cases brought by women in Germany who were suspended from their jobs for wearing one.

The issue of the hijab, the traditional headscarf worn around the head and shoulders, has caused controversy across Europe for years and underlined sharp differences over integrating Muslims.

In the cases brought to court, both Muslim women — a special-needs carer at a childcare centre in Hamburg run by a charitable association, and a cashier at the Mueller drugstore chain — did not wear headscarves when they started in their jobs, but decided to do so years later after coming back from parental leave...

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