Living Together in an Age of Religious Diversity: Lessons from Baby Loup and SAS
Oxford Journal of Law and Religion 2015, 1-25
43 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2015
Date Written: December 8, 2014
This article explores two recent decisions by the European Court of Human Rights and the French Cour de cassation respectively: SAS v France – a challenge to the French ban on the full-face covering in the public space and Baby Loup – in which a private nursery employee was dismissed for refusing to remove her non-face covering Islamic veil. This article demonstrates that whilst the two decisions share many features, the European Court of Human Rights only offers a semi-support to the French suspicions towards religion. Beyond French borders, the article argues that despite its flawed legal basis (the concept of living together) and its concerning use of proportionality tests, of discrimination protection and of margin of appreciation doctrine, the SAS judgment adopts a balanced approach which may pave the way for a less confrontational method of resolution of majority/minority conflicts over the place of religion in Europe.
Keywords: religious symbols in the workplace, French burqa ban , SAS v France , Baby Loup, laïcité , proportionality, margin of appreciation, living together
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