Starting from framing the principle of non-discrimination and religious freedom in the EU context, this work investigates the issue of wearing religious clothing at the workplace in light of the application and interpretation of the 2000 Employment Equality Directive establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment in EU Member States. In particular, the article shows that the choice of employees to wear religious symbols or clothing has given rise to issues of balance among opposing rights (freedom of thought, conscience and religion v. freedom to conduct a business). The work highlights the danger of indirect discrimination when an apparently neutral provision, criterion, or practice disadvantages persons of a particular religion compared to others (Article 2.b), and the different treatments exceptionally admitted as “genuine occupational requirements” (Article 4). Indeed, religious freedom, and in this specific case, the freedom of employees to wear religious clothing, might conflict with the employer’s economic interests and/or activity. Furthermore, a “neutrality policy” in the workplace related to the freedom to conduct a business, as provided in Article 16 EUCFR, can lead to disproportionate discrimination on the basis of religion, hence risking the prevalence of the employer’s economic interests. In this perspective, the work emphasizes that in recent years, wearing religious clothing has become a crucial issue in regard to equal treatment in private employment and the protection of fundamental rights that end up being assessed by national courts on a case-by-case basis.

Wearing Religious Clothing at the Workplace in EU Law and the Risks of a "Neutrality Policy" in Private Employment

Teresa Russo
2021

Abstract

Starting from framing the principle of non-discrimination and religious freedom in the EU context, this work investigates the issue of wearing religious clothing at the workplace in light of the application and interpretation of the 2000 Employment Equality Directive establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment in EU Member States. In particular, the article shows that the choice of employees to wear religious symbols or clothing has given rise to issues of balance among opposing rights (freedom of thought, conscience and religion v. freedom to conduct a business). The work highlights the danger of indirect discrimination when an apparently neutral provision, criterion, or practice disadvantages persons of a particular religion compared to others (Article 2.b), and the different treatments exceptionally admitted as “genuine occupational requirements” (Article 4). Indeed, religious freedom, and in this specific case, the freedom of employees to wear religious clothing, might conflict with the employer’s economic interests and/or activity. Furthermore, a “neutrality policy” in the workplace related to the freedom to conduct a business, as provided in Article 16 EUCFR, can lead to disproportionate discrimination on the basis of religion, hence risking the prevalence of the employer’s economic interests. In this perspective, the work emphasizes that in recent years, wearing religious clothing has become a crucial issue in regard to equal treatment in private employment and the protection of fundamental rights that end up being assessed by national courts on a case-by-case basis.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11386/4769330
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact