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Home > Workplace > Germany > 2009-12-10 - Federal Labour Court, n. 2 AZR 55/09

2009-12-10 - Federal Labour Court, n. 2 AZR 55/09

Workplace · Germany · Dismissal · Dress code

Prohibition of wearing a headscarf by a teacher in classes

Key facts of the case - The claimant (Turkish Muslim) was an employee of the defendant. She was a teacher for Turkish language at a school of the defendant and taught only Muslim pupils. She wore a headscarf even in classes. The school’s principal asked the claimant to teach the class without her headscarf. The claimant refuses this request. Accordingly, the defendant terminated the claimant’s contract of employment. The claimant argues that the dismissal has to be cancelled.

Main reasoning of the court - The court rejects the claim. The termination is legal. Teachers represent the religiously neutral secular state. The headscarf is a religious symbol. Thus the claimant violates the principle of neutrality. The state has to be neutral referring to religions.
This neutrality need to be followed even if the claimant teaches exclusively Muslim pupils. Furthermore there is no discrimination according to § 7 I AGG (General Equal Treatment Act). The different treatment is justified according to § 8 I AGG referring to relevant professional requirements for the employment as a teacher in public schools. The termination of the contract of employment is valid.

Comment - Compare with: Employment appeal tribunal of Hamburg, 29.10.2008, n. 3 Sa 15/08). Moreover there is no violation of Article 3 I GG and Art 9 EMRK. This decision does not cover cases of religious instruction in public schools according to the German constitutional system.