Judge: Woman can wear headscarf at work

Oct. 18, 2012 at 10:43 AM
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BERLIN, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- A German court ruled that a dental practice that refused to hire a Muslim woman because she wanted to wear a headscarf at work broke the law.

The woman, whose name was not reported, had applied for a dental assistant internship at the Spandau-based dental office in the summer of 2011, The Local.de reported Thursday. Despite her qualifications and getting along with staff, she was told that she could not have the position unless she removed her headscarf.

With the help of the Turkish Association of Berlin and Brandenburg, the woman sued the dental practice.

A Berlin judge ruled in favor of the woman, stating that the headscarf, called a hijab, was not an "arbitrary piece of clothing" but an expression of her beliefs and wearing it was part of her right to religious freedom.

The dental practice argued that they had a right to religious neutrality in the clinic and that headscarves could pose a hygiene risk to patients.

However, refusing to employ her because of her headscarf was in breach of the Equal Treatment Act, the judge said.

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