The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has issued two preliminary rulings to guide the courts and tribunals of EU member states on the interpretation of EU anti-discrimination law. These rulings are at best controversial. They will give rise to more debate on which religious manifestations are acceptable in an increasingly secular society.
In the first case referred by the Belgian courts the ECJ ruled that firms should be free to prevent staff from wearing any garments making a religious or political statement. The Belgian courts now need to decide whether a Muslim receptionist who insisted on wearing a headscarf and was dismissed by her employer for disobeying company policy was treated in a discriminatory way.