Home > Workplace > Germany > 2001-06-26 - High Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg, n. 4 S (...)

2001-06-26 - High Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg, n. 4 S 1439/00

Workplace · Germany · Dress code · Headscarf · Recruitment

It falls within the limits of the employer’s margin of discretion to decide of whether the wearing of a headscarf is inappropriate for a teacher in public school

Key facts of the case - A Muslim woman applied for the position of a teacher. In the job interview she announced that she was not going to take off her headscarf. Thus, she was not employed since the higher school office thought that because of this, she was not suitable to become a civil servant.

Main reasoning of the court - The fact that the teacher is Muslim does not make her incompetent to work at a State school. The Court reasoned that the State’s educational mandate (Art. 7 GG, Basic Law) is characterized by neutrality on the one hand but based on the Christian-Occidental values on the other hand. Yet, this does not hinder a Muslim from becoming a teacher. Art. 33 GG stipulates that candidates for the appointment of a civil servant are to be evaluated based on their suitability, capability and professional performance and independently of their religion.
In the instant case, the higher school office based the decision on the candidate’s suitability, not on her religion. The higher school office argued that a teacher wearing a headscarf at school would lead to conflicts and controversies in the schools. Therefore she could only be employed in certain very tolerant schools. This means for the higher school office that she lacks suitability for the employment as teacher. The Court followed this reasoning and held that the higher school office has the right to refuse the teacher because of a lack of suitability due to her headscarf.