Home > Workplace > Netherlands > 1997-03-25 - Equal Treatment Commission, n. 1997-24

1997-03-25 - Equal Treatment Commission, n. 1997-24

Workplace · The Netherlands · Discrimination · Dress code

Unlawful dismissal of a Sikh hotel cleaner wearing turban and ceremonial dagger

Key facts of the case - The applicant works in the hotel of the other party as head of the public area attendants of the department Housekeeping. He has become a Sikh and because of his religious beliefs, he wears turban, dagger, beard and bracelet. The other party (the hotel) has suspended the applicant, because his appearance is no longer in line with the clothing requirements of the hotel. Moreover, according to the other party, the dagger appears threatening to guests and other staff members. For the hotel, the religious belief of the applicant (which was expressed by wearing the turban, the beard, the dagger and the bracelet) was not as such the reason for the dismissal.

Main reasoning of the court - The Commission finds that an indirect distinction on the basis of religion is made. The indirect distinction is not objectively justified. The dismissal of the applicant is not proportionate to the aim that is pursued by the implementation of the clothing requirements, namely to uphold the image and the atmosphere in the hotel.
The Commission is neither convinced by the argument against wearing the dagger, because the dagger is not visible for others since it is worn beneath the clothes. The hotel has acted in violation of the Equal Treatment Act.