Freedom of religion at work?

De terroristische aanslagen van 11 september 2001 in combinatie met globalisering, migratiepatronen en een focus op diversiteit op de werkplek, hebben geleid dat de muur tussen religie en werk afbrokkelt met als resultaat dat steeds meer werknemers hun eigen religie naar de werkplek brengen.

Dit brengt nieuwe uitdagingen voor werkgevers met zich mee, aangezien zij verzoeken om religieuze aanpassingen ontvangen en geconfronteerd worden met onverwachte en soms lastige geloofsgerelateerde situaties. Dit roept bijvoorbeeld de vraag op in hoeverre een medewerker zich kan laten leiden door zijn/haar geloof in zijn/haar werk.

Hieronder kunt u het artikel teruglezen in het Engels.

Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 combined with globalization, immigration patterns and a focus on workplace diversity have resulted in a more religiously diverse and devout workforce. The wall between religion and work is crumbling down and more workers are bringing their own religion into the workplace.

This brings new challenges for employers as they are receiving requests for religious accommodations and are being confronted with unexpected and sometimes awkward faith related situations.

This raises a questions as to what extend may an employee be guided by his/her faith in his/her work. Are you, as an employer allowed to forbid headscarf at work when your employee is Muslim? And what when she refuses, can you fire her because of it? Or when an employer refuses an employee to wear a cross as a symbol of their faith, even if it is under their employers’ uniform policy?

This discussion concerning religion on the workplace has been increasing in recent years resulting in a number of high profile cases including the case Eweida. The ruling covers four big cases which have been brought by Christian applicants who complained that they were subjected to religious discrimination at work. Other cases which also gained attention were that of the Belgian Samira Achbita and the French Asma Bougnaoui who were fired for wearing an Islamic headscarf in the workplace. These two cases are examples which illustrate one dimension of the debate concerning scarves, namely: the issue of freedom or agency.
Both the European Union and the Council of Europe have the ambition to fight against this type of discrimination. A comprehensive set of rules has already been created in particular to their respective courts, the Court of Justice of the EU (ECJ) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). In the case law both courts clarified these rules, determining whether a situation is discriminatory or not.

You can find the paper here.

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