Workplace Ban On Muslim Headscarf Is Legal, EU Court Adviser Says

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LUXEMBOURG — A senior adviser to the European Court of Justice says a European Union business may legitimately prohibit an employee from wearing a Muslim headscarf on the job, provided the ban is based on a general company rule prohibiting visible political or religious symbols in the workplace, and not on prejudice against a particular religion.

Advocate General Juliane Kokott issued the opinion Tuesday after a Belgian court asked for clarification on what is prohibited by EU anti-discrimination laws.

In the Belgian case, Samira Achbita was fired as a receptionist by a security company after she insisted she should be allowed to work wearing an Islamic headscarf.

Achbita has lost her discrimination lawsuit in two Belgian courts and is now before the country's Court of Cassation, which sought the EU court's opinion.

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