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EU court rules workplace headscarf ban legal

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European companies can ban employees from wearing religious or political symbols including the Islamic headscarf, the EU’s top court ruled on Tuesday in a landmark case.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said it does not constitute “direct discrimination” if a firm has an internal rule banning the wearing of “any political, philosophical or religious sign”.

The Luxembourg-based court was ruling on the case of a Muslim woman fired by the security company G4S in Belgium after she insisted on wearing a headscarf.

The wearing of religious symbols, and especially Islamic symbols such as the headscarf, has become a hot button issue with the rise of populist sentiment across Europe, with some countries such as Austria considering a complete ban on the full-face veil in public.

Manfred Weber, head of the centre-right European People’s Party, the biggest in the European Parliament, welcomed the ruling.

“Important ruling by the European Court of Justice: employers have the right to ban the Islamic veil at work. European values must apply in public life,” Weber said in a tweet.

The ECJ was ruling on a case dating to 2003 when Samira Achbita, a Muslim, was employed as a receptionist by G4S security services in Belgium.

At the time, the company had an “unwritten rule” that employees should not wear any political, religious or philosophical symbols at work, the ECJ said.

In 2006, Achbita told G4S she wanted to wear the Islamic headscarf at work but was told this would not be allowed.

Subsequently, the company introduced a formal ban. Achbita was dismissed and she went to court claiming discrimination.

The ECJ said European Union law does bar discrimination on religious grounds, but G4S’s actions were based on treating all employees the same, meaning no one person was singled out for application of the ban.

“The rule thus treats all employees of the undertaking in the same way, notably by requiring them, generally and without any differentiation, to dress neutrally,” the ECJ said.

“Accordingly, such an internal rule does not introduce a difference of treatment that is directly based on religion or belief,” it said.

However, in a related case in France, the ECJ ruled that a customer could not demand that a company employee not wear the Islamic headscarf when conducting business with them on its behalf.

Design engineer Asma Bougnaoui was employed full-time by Micropole, a private company, in 2008, having been told that wearing the headscarf might cause problems with clients.

Following a customer complaint, Micropole asked Bougnaoui not to wear the headscarf on the grounds employees should be dressed neutrally.

She was subsequently dismissed and went to court claiming discrimination.

The ECJ said the case turned on whether there was an internal company rule in place applicable to all, as in the G4S instance, or whether the client’s demand meant Bougnaoui was treated differently.

The ECJ concluded that Bougnaoui had indeed been treated differently and so the client’s demand that she not wear a headscarf “cannot be considered a genuine and determining occupational requirement”.

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UCL Quarterfinal Draw: Man United Rewarded with Barca after PSG comeback

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Manchester United have been drawn against Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals, while Tottenham will play Manchester City.

Last season’s finalists Liverpool will play Porto as Ajax will be up against Juventus in the other ties.

The semi-final draw was also made and Manchester United will meet Liverpool if both win their last-eight ties.

The quarter-final first legs take place on 9 April and 10 April. The semi-finals start on 30 April and 1 May.

The Champions League final takes place on 1 June at Madrid’s 68,000-capacity Wanda Metropolitano, home of Atletico Madrid.

Quarter – Finals

Ajax vs Juventus (April 10 at Johan Cruijff Arena, April 16 at Allianz Stadium

Liverpool vs Porto (April 9 at Anfield, April 17 at  Estadio do Dragao

Tottenham vs Manchester City (April 9 at Spurs Stadium, April 17 at Ethiad)

Barcelona vs Manchester United (April 10 at Old Trafford, April 16 at Nuo Camp)

Semi – Finals

Tottenham/Manchester City vs Ajax/Juventus

Barcelona/Manchester vs Liverpool/Porto

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Brazil: Unknown gunmen killed teenage students.

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Police has condemned the incident that took place at a school in south east Brazil, killing at least seven students and one employee,



The reason of the attack is yet to be known as as investigation is still ongoing. However, the two gunmen who started the shooting later killed themselves.

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São Paulo state governor João Doria,  expressed dismay after visiting the school, stating ”it is the saddest thing I’ve seen in my entire life. The teenagers who were brutally murdered”.

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