Prohibitions of wearing religious symbols in the workplace: the perspective of the Court of Justice of the European Union

The European Court of Human Rights has developed a significant body of jurisprudence in the area of religion-based discrimination in the context of violations of religious freedoms, including those relating to the issue of religious symbols in the public and in the workplace.

Themes: Judiciary and Access to Justice
Amila Kurtović


Neutrality of the state towards religion among other things implies that no religion has any influence on state affairs. One of the consequences of such an approach in different states is the ban on wearing religious symbols in the workplace for civil servants, which, as it turned out in practice, is particularly relevant for Muslim women wearing headscarf. This analysis attempts to delineate, on the one hand, legitimate bans in the public sector, which are necessary in certain areas, such as the work in the civil service, and, on the other hand, prohibitions whose goal is difficult to accept as legitimate, such as preventing the headscarved Muslim girls from attending state universities.


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The publication is published within the project “Equality for All: Civil Society Coalition against Discrimination“, and is implemented in cooperation with Mediacentar Sarajevo, Analitika – Center for Social Research, Rights for All and Vaša prava BiH. This project is financed by USAID and Open Society Fund Bosnia and Herzegovina.


This publication is published by the generous support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this Commentary are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.