Home > Workplace > Netherlands > 2008-10-23 - Equal Treatment Commission, n. 2008-123

2008-10-23 - Equal Treatment Commission, n. 2008-123

Workplace · The Netherlands · Civil servant · Dress code

A civil servant in contact with the public can be refused the wearing of Islamic headscarf

Key facts of the case - A member of the police force, who happened to be a Muslim, protests against the new obligation to dress in police uniform. The obligation applies when fulfilling tasks in a detention block (a) and in her contacts with the public (loketfunctie) (b). In her case it leads her with to new situation, namely the prohibition to wear the headscarf. The changed dress policy is motivated by the ambition to be ‘recognisable’ by the public and to have a neutral appearance.

Main reasoning of the court - The requirements are qualified by the CGB in both situations as an indirect discrimination on religious grounds. As for the indirect discriminative treatment by designating the tasks in the cell blocks as uniform tasks (in the light of the fact that wearing a uniform excludes the use of a headscarf) the Equal Treatment Commission decides that there is no objective justification due to the fact that there are no contacts with the public. The requirements pertaining to dress code are in breach of Article 5 AWGB (Algemene wet gelijke behandeling, Equal treatment Act).
The opposite conclusion is found for the requirement to be in police uniform while fulfilling duties being in contact with the public.