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Home > Workplace > Germany > 2008-10-16 - High Labour Court of Hamm, n. 11 Sa 280/08 and 11 Sa (...)

2008-10-16 - High Labour Court of Hamm, n. 11 Sa 280/08 and 11 Sa 572/08

Workplace · Germany · Dress code · Employement contract

Validity of contract termination based on wearing a headscarf by teacher in classes

Key facts of the case - The claimant was a Turkish language teacher in the defendant’s school, teaching only pupils with Islamic religion (Muslim pupils) since 2001. With the new formulated § 57 IV Schulgesetz NRW (School Act of NRW) it was prohibited to wear a headscarf in class since 2006. Nevertheless the claimant refused to put down her headscarf even after having received a warning by the defendant. Finally the defendant terminated the claimant’s employment contract.

Main reasoning of the court - The claim has to be rejected since the teacher’s contract termination is valid. Teachers have the duty to maintain the neutrality of the state according to § 57 IV Schulgesetz NRW (School Act of NRW) including religious neutrality next to political or ideological neutrality. This obligation was violated by the claimant, thus not only the warning but also the termination of the contract is valid. It is irrelevant which subjective motivation the claimant as a teacher has by wearing a headscarf. Moreover it is sufficient if the claimant’s headscarf can be an abstract threat to influence the neutrality of state. Therefore the contract termination based on wearing a headscarf is valid.

Comment - Legitimacy of § 57 IV Schulgesetz NRW (School Act of NRW) was examined by the Federal Constitutional Court in the case of 24 September 2003 (2 BvR 1436/02).