Home > Workplace > Denmark > 2008-01-03 - Eastern High Court of Denmark, ‘Birthday reception’ case, n. (...)

2008-01-03 - Eastern High Court of Denmark, ‘Birthday reception’ case, n. OE2008.B-821-07

Workplace · Denmark · Discrimination · Religious practices

An employee, Jehovah’s Witness, cannot leave the workplace on religious ground

Key facts of the case - A. was a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses and employed as a trainee with an estate agent. A. did not wish to participate as a guest in a birthday reception for religious reasons. A. had been told to be at the reception and speak to the clients, but, instead, she left the workplace during the time of the reception. The employer tried to give A. a warning but she refused to receive it and chose instead to give her resignation.

Main reasoning of the Court - The court found that it had been reasonable to expect from A. to participate in the reception and she could not prove that she had been given permission to leave the work place. The court did not hold that A. had shown direct or indirect discrimination and concluded in favour of the defendant.

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.