Protection with Hesitation: on the recent CJEU Decisions on Religious Headscarves at Work

The CJEU’s Achbita and Bougnaoui decisions on workplace bans of Islamic headscarves are disappointing as they are not providing enough guidance to the national courts concerning the criteria that they need to take into consideration in their attempts to find a balance between the rights in conflict. The judgments do not provide any criteria for the admissibility of dress codes other than that they should be neutral and objectively justified. Even those terms though are not analysed by the court in a sufficient manner.

Continue Reading →

Warum Vertrauen in die Neutralität der Justiz ein schützenswertes Verfassungsgut ist

Gibt es Allgemeininteressen mit Verfassungsrang, die es rechtfertigen, Richterinnen das Tragen eines Hidschab zu untersagen? Anders als Aqilah Sandhu glaubt, lautet die Antwort Ja. Wer nicht bereit ist, auf auffallende Symbole gruppenbezogener Identität zu verzichten, kann nicht ein Richteramt beanspruchen. Dies gilt auch, wenn Anwärter ernsthaft und glaubwürdig versichern, ihre Zugehörigkeiten bei konkreten Entscheidungen ausblenden zu können. Zu der verantwortungsvollen Richterrolle gehören nicht nur die fachliche Ausbildung und die Fähigkeit zur Selbstbeobachtung, sondern auch Verständnis für die Funktionsbedingungen, die für das System Justiz von zentraler Bedeutung sind.

Continue Reading →

Can private undertakings hide behind “religious neutrality”?

Is the pursuit of religious neutrality an acceptable aim for public and private organisations alike, on the basis of which they may prohibit their employees from wearing religious signs or apparel whilst at work? In two pending cases before the CJEU, the Advocates General seem to arrive at opposite conclusions on this point. To solve this puzzle, I think it is crucial to see that there are two radically different reasons why a private-sector company may wish to adopt an identity of religious neutrality, which reflect two distinct types of interest a company may have in religious neutrality: a business interest and an interest as a member of society.

Continue Reading →