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2010-06-08 - Court of appeal of Paris, n. 08/08286

Public space · France · Dress code

A training centre cannot refuse access to a woman wearing the Islamic headscarf

Key facts of the case - The defendant is an association managing a professional training centre. It passed an internal ruling prohibiting the apprentices from wearing insignia with religious dimension or contrary to the general principles of the Republic. The association had accepted to register the applicant but when she entered the premises of the centre, she was requested to remove her headscarf. Later on, she was informed by mail that the centre would not ensure her registration any longer.

Main reasoning of the court - The court of appeal of Paris overrules the decision of the first court. It deems that the wearing of the Islamic headscarf is a usual practice of the Muslim religion, whose practice is related to the constitutionally protected exercise of the religious freedom. Accordingly, refusing the access to service supplying is constitutive of discrimination under Article 225-1 of the penal code. In addition, the defendant cannot invoke the March, 15th 2004 Act related to the wearing of signs or clothing manifesting a religious belonging, which apply only to primary, secondary and high schools.
Yet, the defendant manages a private establishment providing a teaching of university level.

See the decision: Court of appeal of Paris, 08-06-2010, n. 08/08286.