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Muslim Teacher Awarded €7k Compensation for Hijab Job Rejection

The state of Berlin has been ordered to pay a Muslim teacher €6,900 after she was rejected from a job because her hijab contravened a German law restricting religious symbols in the workplace.

A labor court in Berlin, Germany, has ordered state authorities to pay approximately 7,000 euros, or two monthly salaries, to a woman whose appointment for a teaching job has been disqualified because she wore a hijab. The school claimed that wearing a hijab was contrary to German law, which requires religious neutrality in public places, but the court rejected the claim and thus challenged the implementation of the law.

Berlin’s ‘neutrality law’ states that public sector employees such as teachers, nurses and police officers are not allowed to wear religious symbols during work. However, in 2015, a German Constitutional Court found the law unconstitutional and damaging to religious freedom. It ruled that the law is enforceable only when the religious symbol might impair peace.

Berlin’s Neutrality Act says state employees, like teachers, nurses and police aren’t allowed to wear religious symbols when at work.

However, in 2015, Germany’s Constitutional Court found blanket bans on state teachers wearing headscarves were unconstitutional.

In its ruling, the court told teachers concerned about freedom of religious expression that “strict and nationwide prohibition of a religious outward statement” is “unreasonable,” except in cases where the headscarf “constitute[s] a sufficiently specific danger of impairing the peace at school or the state’s duty of neutrality,” Spiegel reported.

In February, a teacher was also awarded €8,680 in an appeal after she was rejected for a job due to her headscarf.

The labor court found the basis for her 2014 job application rejection fell under religious discrimination. Her rejection letter stated she would not be given a job at a general education school because of the Neutrality law.

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