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2001-06-22 - Equal Treatment Commission, n. 2001-53

Workplace · The Netherlands · Civil servant · Dress code

Dress code excluding Islamic Headscarf cannot apply to the function of deputy clerk

Key facts of the case - A law student who is a Muslim wearing a head scarf applies for a job as (part time) acting clerk of the court (buitengriffier). The Court management did not offer her the job, because of the dress regulations: they prescribe a specific dress.

Main reasoning of the court - The Equal Treatment Commission concludes that the headscarf cannot justify differential treatment; the regulations do not refer to religion at all. The interpretation and application of the dress regulations harm those persons that wear headscarves for religious reasons. The dress requirements lead to indirect differential treatment on religious grounds. The motive for the dress code (the independence and the impartiality of the judiciary) is legitimate and nondiscriminatory in itself.
However, the exclusion of all Muslim applicants wearing a headscarf is, in the opinion of the Equal Treatment Commission, too drastic. It holds the opinion that, given the fact that it only concerns the function of deputy clerk, the requirement is not necessary. Therefore, the differential treatment is in breach of Article 5 AWGB (Algemene wet gelijke behandeling, Equal treatment Act).