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Helsinki clothing store bosses fined over headscarf sacking


Helsinki clothing store bosses fined over headscarf sacking

Managers at a Helsinki clothing store have been fined over an incident in which they fired a Muslim worker on her first day at work because she was wearing a headscarf.

Helsinki District court has fined managers at a Helsinki clothing retailer for discriminating against an employee on the basis of religion. They received 20 day-fines for sacking a Muslim worker who was told she should not wear a headscarf.

The new worker, who had been hired on a one-month contract, was fired on her first day at work when managers realised she wore a headscarf. She had been hired over the phone, and told to turn up wearing a t-shirt and denim overalls. The store manager forbid her from wearing the headscarf in the store, and after discussing the matter with a senior manager fired the new employee.

The defendants denied that their decision was discriminatory, saying that a scarf that ensured only the worker’s face was visible did not fit the company’s brand. That view was not shared by the district court, which ruled in favour of the prosecutor and fined the defendants.

YLE News, 24 March 2014

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  • That was funny. I will use it as a background music, if I do the video!

  • Cengiz_K

    You can do eeet! 😀

    as a motivator! 😉

  • I sent you an email. I guess I got a little carried away with the video idea. That would be something that I would definitely like for my personal blog – I like in-your-face things. For LW, we could have something milder and safer but definitely factual and verified.

  • I would love to do an expository sort of an article/video where I am entering different compounds with a hidden camera and being asked to take off my abaya, hijab or niqab 😉 I need to have friends in those compounds since otherwise the security won’t let me in. I do have an acquaintance in one compound (Al-Bustaan) where the black abayas are banned (except if worn on way in/out or by Saudi women). If I have to do an article, I want to have irrefutable evidence such as a video or pictures of signs asking people to take clothing off.

  • Cengiz_K

    could You do an article on that issue on LW? I was amazed to hear that..

  • sasboy

    Finland is not known as a multicultural society, but it seems their laws are reasonably progressive. I do not think the female employee would have won this case had it occurred in say, France.

  • I know I was shocked too when I heard about it the first time.

  • Muslim women who wear the hijab don’t wear it because they just have a passion for it. They wear it because they consider it to be an integral part of their dress. Asking a Muslim woman, that wears the hijab, to take it off is like asking a Christian woman to take off her shirt. Thus your equivalence of a hijab to dyed blue hair doesn’t hold.
    Secondly, in Saudi Arabia, Christian females do have the choice to wear short skirts or bikinis in their compounds – consider a compound to be equivalent to a planned community with houses, swimming pools, shops, club houses, gyms, schools, etc. In some of these compounds, Muslim females are asked to take off their hijabs, niqabs or abayas. Yes, Saudi Government are hypocrites that they enforce abaya on the outside but let it be on the inside but think of that as the no shoe/no shirt/no service policy of the West – something to maintain a public decorum. The point is that Christian females with a passion for short skirts are enjoying quite a bit in the KSA contrary to what the common perception is.

  • Nikos Dandoulakis

    If the headscarf doesn’t fit the dress code of the bussiness and if the applicant thinks it is important for them, then they should look for a job somewhere else.

  • Nassir H.

    If the managers were so concerned about their workers’ appearances not fitting their brand, perhaps it was not so bright to hire someone based solely on a phone call.

    It says a lot that you think a headscarf is “not friendly” and indicative of being all sorts of horrible things: (1) different, (2) religious, (3) obstinate, and (4) Muslim. This list is more suggestive of your own deep biases than any reality about Muslim women, especially considering the “being Muslim” is on it. Do you really find a headscarved woman at a store counter that offensive?

    As is the case with many headscarf-related controversies, the Muslim woman (gauging from the article) did not make any issue about her attire or religion. Only the managers, after seeing her hijab, took the reactionary action. Of course, in your imagination this becomes a Muslim “arrogantly impos[ing]” their beliefs “on others where they don’t belong.” In actuality, there would have been no controversy if the managers did not find headscarves so unpleasant.

  • mindy1

    To this day I do not get the big deal over the headscarf. If it does not interfere with the job let it be.

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