Muslim woman sacked for wearing headscarf “wrongfully dismissed”

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© Cordelia Persen - flickr
Children wearing Hijab.

A SENIOR EU lawyer has found in favour of Anna Bouganoui who lodged a claim for wrongful dismissal by her French employers for wearing her hijab headscarf to work.  She was sacked from her job as a design engineer in 2009 without warning after wearing the hijab in a meeting with a major client.  

The client, an insurance firm, had complained to Ms Bouganoui’s employers that her wearing of the hijab embarrassed some of their staff who were assigned to work with her. They in turn requested she stop wearing the scarf when visiting the insurer and when she refused was summarily dismissed. 

The French court upheld part of her original appeal based on the grounds of her being fired without warning but not on any other grounds. This implied that if she had received a formal warning and then continued to wear the hijab she could have been legally dismissed at a later date. 

The EU lawyer has found that this scenario also constitutes discrimination on religious grounds and is viewed as a landmark directive for similar cases.

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