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Home > Workplace > France > 2002-10-17 - Administrative Court of Paris, n. 0101740/5

2002-10-17 - Administrative Court of Paris, n. 0101740/5

Workplace · France · Civil servant · Dress code · Neutrality

All public agents are subject to religious neutrality

Key facts of the case - The applicant had a social worker position in a public welcome and care centre within a fixed term contract of public law. The Human Resources manager informed her that her employment contract would not be renewed. It is not required to provide the reasons of such a decision but it was proved that it follows the refusal of the applicant to remove her Islamic headscarf after some of the patients complained. The applicant applies for judicial review of this decision.

Main reasoning of the court - The Court recalls the principles applicable to civil servants – including temporary public agents – in religious matters.
First, as every citizen, civil servants have a right to freedom of religion. However, the principles of laïcité of the State and of neutrality of public services prevent the civil servants from the right to manifest their religious beliefs, particularly through dressing.
This principle aims at protecting the public services users from any risk of influence or infringement of their own freedom of conscience. The court adds that this duty of civil servants applies rigorously to public services in which users are in a situation of fragility or dependence. Hence, the Human Resources manager was entitled to refuse the renewal of the contract