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Opinion of Advocate General Rantos, IX v. WABE eV and MH Müller Handels GmbH v. MJ,Cases C-804/18 and C-341/19, CJEU, 25 February 2021

Type Conclusions
Case number C-804/18, C-341/19


The prohibition on wearing the Islamic headscarf imposed on a worker in a (private) company does not constitute direct discrimination based on religion.

Normative references

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


1. With reference to the case law of the Court, the prohibition of wearing in the workplace any visible sign relating to political, ideological or religious beliefs, deriving from an (internal) norm of a private company, does not constitute direct discrimination based on religion or personal beliefs towards workers who follow dress rules due to religious obligations.
Furthermore, it is noted that the fact of visibly wearing small markings may also be considered appropriate. However, the Islamic veil is not a small religious sign, therefore, it is up to the referring court to examine the situation on a case-by-case basis.

2. It appears from the German constitutional provisions that the will of an employer to pursue a policy of religious neutrality towards customers is legitimate only if the absence of such neutrality would cause him economic damage. Therefore, the German national provisions are not in conflict with the directive on equal treatment in employment and occupation. Indeed, they do not prohibit a policy of political, ideological or religious neutrality on the part of an employer, but merely establish an additional requirement for its implementation, namely the existence of a sufficiently concrete threat of economic disadvantage for the employer.