Home > Workplace > Germany > 2008-12-16 - Federal administrative Court, n. 2 B 46.08

2008-12-16 - Federal administrative Court, n. 2 B 46.08

Workplace · Germany · Dress code · Headscarf · School

Teachers are not allowed to wear extraordinary clothing that expresses their faith in a public school, when the teacher explains the students and parents what it stands for

Key facts of the case - The teacher, who is a civil servant, converted to Islam and accordingly covers her hair. However, § 38 II 1 of the Baden-Württemberg School Act forbids teachers to express their religious or ideological expressions at school. The school authorities instructed her to do her service without any headgear. The teacher claims that her cap does not look like a Muslim headgear and that the sense of it only becomes understandable when she explains that she wears it for religious reasons.

Main reasoning of the court - The Court held that wearing a headgear that cannot easily be identified as an Islamic headgear also falls under S 38 II 1 of the act since a teacher with an extraordinary cap does lead to questions from students and parents. Through explaining her motivation for wearing the headgear, the teacher expresses her faith and therefore infringes § 38 I 2. This is compatible with the basic right to religious freedom since the parents’ right to educate their children (art 6 GG) and the principle of State neutrality, protected by § 38 I 2, are of higher value in the instant case. Furthermore, the prohibition is in accordance with Art. 9 ECHR, since the European Court of Strasbourg held that the teachers’ religious freedom can be restricted to prevent a violation of students’ and parents’ basic rights and of the neutrality of education.

Comment - This judgment upholds the decision of the High administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg of March 14 March 2008, n. 4 S 516/07.