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Remainers - your views on this European court of justice decision

(69 Posts)
babybarrister Wed 15-Mar-17 19:51:36

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/15/hijab-ruling-muslim-women-religious-identity-european-court-of-justice-resistance

I feel that I have been a voice in the dark pointing out the side of the EU no-one liberal wishes to acknowledge.... And here it is again...

BoboChic Wed 15-Mar-17 22:07:18

All societies have dress codes. The UK has some of the most ludicrous, archaic, sexist, socially divisive and illiberal dress codes in the world (aka school uniform). This is but nothing in the illiberal scheme of things.

RufusTheSpartacusReindeer Wed 15-Mar-17 22:09:19

I think its dreadful

But then i am not liberal so your post might not have been meant for me

Figmentofmyimagination Wed 15-Mar-17 22:22:17

Have you actually read this ruling?

It says that it is not direct religious discrimination to ban the wearing of visible religious symbols at work in client-facing roles in pursuit of a policy of neutrality, provided the policy is applied equally to all religious symbols.

What exactly is offensive or illiberal about this ruling?

Mistigri Thu 16-Mar-17 05:14:13

I don't agree with it, but don't think it is as simple as saying that "if you agree with this you cannot be liberal". All societies and all institutions infringe liberties to an extent, in the pursuit of the public good or of institutional goals; the question is where you draw the line and whether it's done in a discriminatory way.

This is in the same vein as laws about secularism in some European countries. For eg state schools in France are strictly secular; there is no religious teaching, no celebration of religious traditions, and all religious symbols are banned including head coverings of any sort.

This gives rise to ridiculous situations such as girls at my DD's school being forbidden from using their scarves to cover their heads when they are waiting in the courtyard in the rain before going into class. And as it happens, as a liberal I don't agree with the policy. But as long as it's applied without discrimination, then I think it falls into the category of acceptable infringement of liberties, because there is a clear reason for it and it applies as much to atheist scarf-wearing girls like my DD as to anyone else. (In all other respects school dress codes are far more liberal than in the UK ...)

SuperBeagle Thu 16-Mar-17 05:21:15

Doesn't bother me, as it'll be included with other religious symbols.

In school, we weren't allowed to wear crosses unless they were tucked into our uniforms. At my job, no religious tattoos/jewellery etc. can be displayed, regardless of the religion.

Don't see a difference with this.

engineersthumb Thu 16-Mar-17 05:36:49

The ruling says that the wearing of overt religious symbols can be prohibited but explainstill that this must apply equally to all individuals and religions if applied within the workplace such that no specific group or religion is targeted. I'm paraphrasing but if you read into the ruling you'll find this to be the gist. Sounds like a good sensible ruling to me, what's your issue with it after ignoring the journalists ridiculous slant?

woman12345 Thu 16-Mar-17 09:23:57

Anything that stops men in secular or religious dresses telling us what to wear gets my vote.

RufusTheSpartacusReindeer Thu 16-Mar-17 09:29:18

Anything that stops men in secular or religious dresses telling us what to wear gets my vote.

I agree

But i dont like men anywhere telling me what a woman should wear

Anon1234567890 Thu 16-Mar-17 10:57:53

So naturists can't go to work naked, Pastafarians can't wear a sieve, Natzis cant have a Swastika tattooed on their forehead, Satanists cant expose their snazzy Pentagram and Muslims can't cover their head with a hijab when on the pay role. I can't even wear a football shirt at my local wine bar.

No problemo, fits in pretty easily with a tolerant society who prefer safe environments at their work.

QuentinSummers Thu 16-Mar-17 11:01:50

Why have you targeted this post at "remainers" exactly? You seem to be saying remainers are liberals who are obsessed with identity politics. Confusing.

QuentinSummers Thu 16-Mar-17 11:06:33

I've read more now and the ruling says companies can ask staff not to wear headscarves only if they ban all religious symbols at work and only if the member of staff works in a customer facing role. The employer cannot use complaints from customers as a reason to ban headscarves.
I can't see many employers wanting to write and enforce a draconian policy of no religious symbols in customer facing roles just to prevent some staff wearing the hijab. I think the decision was fair in the context of previous rulings about wearing crucifixes at work.

squishysquirmy Thu 16-Mar-17 11:15:01

I feel very uncomfortable about the idea of employers banning headscarves (except in rare situations where H&S is genuinely affected), but this ruling at least provides some clarification on what has been a grey area.
Importantly, it states that an employer cannot ban one employee from wearing a headscarves while permitting other employees to wear other religious symbols. This seems sensible.
And it doesn't stop countries from providing greater protections for employees - the ruling will be irrelevant in many countries where it is already illegal for employers to ban headscarves.

As with a lot of EU rules, it provides a minimum level of rights and protections, which individual countries are free to improve upon.

Reversing your question, how can Brexiteers who rail against EU interference simultaneously complain that this "interference" doesn't go far enough?

dapplegrey1 Thu 16-Mar-17 12:03:18

Bobochic - genuine question, why do you think school uniform is socially divisive?
I thought it was meant to be fairer as then all the children are dressed the same.

LauraMipsum Thu 16-Mar-17 12:13:24

It's a well reasoned judgment IMO baby

It's here if you haven't seen it: curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2017-03/cp170030en.pdf

Seems to me to be entirely compliant with objectives of human rights laws and EA 2010. It does NOT say that a ban on headscarves is acceptable. It says that a ban on ALL religious accoutrements MAY be acceptable if justified by an employer as being in pursuit of a legitimate aim to the satisfaction of the national court - i.e. it shifts the responsibility back onto national authorities who are better placed than the ECJ to determine what is acceptable in their own jurisdiction.

What's wrong with that?

lessworriedaboutthecat Thu 16-Mar-17 12:19:53

It basically means that employer's can ban staff from wearing visible religious symbols for example crucifixes or head scarfs provided that is legal in their country. Essentially what that means is France's head scarf ban is legal. Now it wouldn't just apply to head scarves however how many Catholic's do you see looking like Pope Liberace

www.theguardian.com/law/2017/mar/14/employers-can-ban-staff-from-wearing-headscarves-european-court-rules

BoboChic Thu 16-Mar-17 12:21:54

dapplegrey1 - all DC within a school may be dressed the same but different schools have very different uniforms that act as social markers.

babybarrister Thu 16-Mar-17 13:44:39

I have read the judgment. I find it dismaying that the CEUJ did not set out minimum standards for non discrimination in relation to religious accessories. Some of the comments on here appear to have been written by supporters of donald trump - it is beyond obvious that the banning of religious accessories will have a disproportionate affect on Muslim women in the workplace. These are not values shared by the majority of the UK thankfully where we are rather more open minded. Do you really think your hijab wearing colleagues should not be allowed to wear the hijab if they go to work in another EU state utilising their freedom of movement?!

BoboChic Thu 16-Mar-17 13:53:18

I don't know why you are so outraged, babybarrister. My DP doesn't wear his kippa round and about and that's how it should be. These rules are not designed to punish Muslims - they are for the benefit of society as a whole.

squishysquirmy Thu 16-Mar-17 13:55:47

I'm no supporter of Donald Trump. I just believe that minimum protections that don't go far enough is better than no minimum protection.

I would really love you to answer my question baby.
How can Brexiteers who rail against EU interference simultaneously complain that this "interference" doesn't go far enough?

Go on, please. smile

squishysquirmy Thu 16-Mar-17 13:56:21

^are better blush

Mistigri Thu 16-Mar-17 15:25:50

it is beyond obvious that the banning of religious accessories will have a disproportionate affect on Muslim women in the workplace

It's not at all obvious, since it depends on which religious minorities are present, and to what extent veil-wearing is adopted in muslim communities in those countries.

Do you really think your hijab wearing colleagues should not be allowed to wear the hijab if they go to work in another EU state utilising their freedom of movement?!

Within reason, people have to comply with local laws and practices. My French-raised teenager would be offended (on feminist and political grounds) by the idea of donning a school uniform, but she'd have to do it if we had the misfortune to have to return to the UK. Likewise, young muslim women (and Sikh and Jewish boys) at French state schools can't wear headwear, because all religious symbols are banned.

It seems to me that as others have pointed out, this law is mainly about providing a baseline for the minimum requirements that must be met. There is nothing to stop EU countries providing additional protection for wearers of religious symbols; they just can't provide less protection. That's generally how EU law on social issues works: the EU provides the floor, it's up to individual EU nations to decide where the ceiling is.

Are you really a barrister?!

dapplegrey1 Thu 16-Mar-17 15:28:54

Bobochic thank you for answering my question.

LauraMipsum Thu 16-Mar-17 16:40:06

the CEUJ did not set out minimum standards for non discrimination in relation to religious accessories

That would have wildly overstepped their remit - they're a court, not a legislative body, and that was not the question referred to them. They settled the question asked of them which was whether customer complaints would be sufficient to justify discrimination and their answer was no.

All the Brexiteers I know complain that we shouldn't be dictated to by the ECJ and that laws like this should be up to individual member states. The ECJ here has said that laws like this should be up to individual member states. If they'd purported to lay down minimum non-discrimination standards people would have been up in arms about it.

EnormousTiger Thu 16-Mar-17 19:22:06

Seems pretty fair to me, not least because the Koran does not require women to cover their hair in the first place!

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