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Fundamental rights

6 August 2020 | Charlotte Desfontaines

Employees’ freedom of religion and ban on wearing a beard

Does an employer who dismisses for serious misconduct an employee working as security consultant for a company providing security and defense services to governments, international non-governmental organizations or private companies, accusing him of wearing a beard that is “trimmed in a way that is intentionally meaningful in both religious and political terms”, infringe said employee’s freedom of religion?

The Cour de Cassation (French Supreme Court) was asked to address this issue and has expanded existing case-law in this area, by issuing on July 8, 2020 a ruling on the fundamental rights and freedoms of employees in the workplace. The Labor Chamber of the Cour de Cassation specifically considered that dismissal for serious misconduct based on such a ground was discriminatory.

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