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French Court of Cassation (Cour de cassation), No. 13-19.855, 22 November 2017

Type Judgment
Case number 13-19.855


Dismissal of a worker due to refusal to remove the Islamic headscarf in the workplace.

Normative references

Articles 2 and 4 of the Council Directive 2000/78 / EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in matters of employment and occupation.

Artt. L. 1121-1, L. 1132-1, L.1133-1, L.1321 French Labor Code.


The employer, while working, must ensure respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of each employee within the company. This can adopt internal regulations, in application of art. L. 1321-5 of the Labor Code, containing a neutrality clause that prohibits the (visible) use of any political, philosophical or religious sign in the workplace as long as this clause applies only to employees who are in contact with customers. It follows that in the presence of a refusal by the worker to comply with this clause, it is up to the employer to determine whether it is possible to offer the employee a job that does not provide for direct contact with the public or to opt for a dismissal. Therefore, following the refusal of the worker to remove the veil, dismissal is not discriminatory and it must be considered that there is just cause for dismissal by the employer.