Warning over imposing bans on headscarves

AN EMPLOYMENT specialist has warned businesses that imposing bans on political, philosophical or religious signs such as headscarves could leave them in a tricky position when it comes to charity pins.

This comes on the back of the European Court of Justice’s first ruling on the wearing of headscarves which said that workplace bans need not constitute direct discrimination.

But the ban must be based on internal company rules requiring all employees to ‘dress neutrally.’

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Sarah Peacock, an employment specialist at Portsmouth law firm Blake Morgan, said: ‘Employers who want to enforce a politically, philosophically and religiously neutral dress code will need to tread very carefully.

‘By its very nature, what is “neutral” can be subjective, and down to a specifically Western cultural interpretation.

‘Would “neutral” extend to not wearing poppies or symbols in support of cancer research? If the ban is not sufficiently neutral and applied to all employees equally, then UK employers could be left in a tricky position.’