Swiss court fines employer after it fired Muslim worker for wearing hearscarf

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A Swiss court has ruled against a company after it fired one of its Muslim employees for wearing headscarf or hijab.

Hijab
Representational image

Quoting Le Matin Dimanche weekly, news agency AFP reported that a regional court in Bern ruled in September that a 29-year-old Serbian woman, Abida, was fired without just cause from a dry cleaning business.

The court also ordered the company to back-pay her salary and damages.

Abida was fired in January 2015 from a job after after working in the company for six years. Her relationship with her employer deteriorated after she began to wear the Muslim headscarf.

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The employer ordered Abida to remove her hijab saying that it broke the company’s hygiene rules. The company warned her that failure to remove hijab would cost Abida her job.

Abida made a desperate plea promising to wash her headscarf daily and even opt for disposable headscarves, but her employer refused.

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The Bern court ruled that the company had violated her constitutional right to freedom of expression, according to the paper.

Several Muslim groups have hailed the historic ruling.

Onder Gunes of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland told the paper, “It shouldn’t matter if a woman wears a headscarf or a man wears the Jewish kippa. At work, competence should be the criteria and not the clothes that you wear.”

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According to the paper, the case is one of the first of its kind in Switzerland with the last similar case being reported dating back to 1990, when a machine manufacturer in the east of the country was also faulted for firing a woman for wearing a headscarf.

 

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