Dutch retailer in headscarf sacking case

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

Leading Dutch retailer HEMA is being taken to court in Belgium after a female employee was fired for wearing a headscarf. The Belgian Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (CGKR) is pressing charges against the firm.

HEMA dismissed the Muslim employee a year ago after customers complained about her headscarf. CGKR Director Jozef De Witte told Flemish media that his organisation made several attempts to broker a solution with the Dutch company, but without success.

Having consulted the trade unions and obtaining the permission of the employee in question, the CGKR has decided to take the matter to court. Mr De Witte is keen to point out that he has nothing against HEMA but his organisation wants to obtain a well-founded ruling on the issue of how far a company can go in seeking to present a “neutral” image to its customers.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

(dd)