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2008-01-14 - Eastern High Court of Denmark, Ramadan case, n. U.2008.1028Ø

Workplace · Denmark · Discrimination · Religious practices

The refusal to hire a woman practicing ramadan does not come under a justified discrimination

Key facts of the case - In 2004 A. applied for a temp job at a treatment home for young children, to B. A and B agreed on a number of trial shifts. During one of these, A. was to participate in the children’s lunch. She avoided eating due to the Ramadan. After the shift, A. was informed by phone that she would not be hired.

Main reasoning of the Court - The Court found it proven that A. not eating during the children’s meal contributed to B’s decision not to hire her. B. is found to have indirectly discriminated A. due to her religion in contravention of Act n. 459 of 12. June 1996 on prohibition against discrimination in respect of employment etc., as changed by Act n. 253 of 7 April 2004, implementing the Council Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC. It is further assumed by the Court that A. did not eat due to the Ramadan. The Court notes that B. has not relied on the discrimination being justified under the circumstances. A. was awarded a compensation of 25,000 Dkr.

Comment - The Danish labour market has been regulated by collective agreements supplemented by international conventions, and in the last part of the 20th century increasingly also by EU regulation.
Industrial labour contracts were predominantly considered (collective) secular contracts covering secular relations. Around the turn of this Century this secular model is challenged.
An increasing demand for freedom to practical and symbolic performance of religious affiliation is voiced by individuals.