The top European Union’s court adopted its first decision on the issue of women wearing Islamic headscarves at work, referring to cases of two women, in France and Belgium. The Court of Justice decided that employers can ban workers from wearing headscarves and also other religious or political and philosophical symbols.
The Open Society Justice Initiative, which submitted a brief supporting the women, expressed disappointment. Amnesty International also criticized this decision: 'Today's disappointing rulings ... give greater leeway to employers to discriminate against women - and men - on the grounds of religious belief.” The critics argued “the guarantee of equality that is at the heart of the EU's antidiscrimination directive.” Other opinions emphasized that a such situation can’t be considered a discrimination and especially in public services the neutrality in manifesting is suitable. The EU Court’s decision it’s not necessary a precedent for other cases and especially not in other countries. As an example, it will not mean that UK businesses will be able to ban religious clothing in the workplace overnight because in the UK there is no strong tradition of religious and political neutrality.