Court rejects Muslim teacher's discrimination case over headscarf

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Court rejects Muslim teacher's discrimination case over headscarf
File photo of an unrelated school: DPA.

Despite a major 2015 Constitutional Court ruling striking down absolute headscarf bans in schools, a lower court has rejected a case brought by a woman who was not allowed to teach due to wearing the garment.


An Osnabrück court on Wednesday dismissed a complaint filed by a Muslim woman seeking compensation for discrimination and damages after she was not allowed to teach due to her headscarf in the state of Lower Saxony, according to Spiegel.

The case dates back to 2013, but the woman came forward to file a complaint after the 2015 Constitutional Court ruling calling general bans on state school teachers wearing headscarves unconstitutional.

Germany’s highest court at the time stated that such bans violated teachers’ rights to religious freedom, and such garments should not be forbidden simply for being an expression of religious beliefs. But the court also stated that such bans could be implemented if headscarves were found to “constitute a sufficiently specific danger of impairing the peace at school or the state’s duty of neutrality.”

After this major ruling, some states had to revise their regulations - also because they gave preferential treatment to Christian symbols.

The woman in the Osnabrück area had been given a spot to teach in 2013, but when officials realized she wanted to wear a headscarf, they withdrew her placement.

Officials had made their decision based on the state of Lower Saxony’s education regulations, which forbade all religious or ideological symbols for all employees.

The Osnabrück court now has ruled that even if the woman had been discriminated against based on her religion, school officials had still made the right decision based on the legal basis at the time.

The woman may still appeal the administrative court’s decision.


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