EU's Top Court Rules Employers Can Prevent Workers From Wearing Religious Items

The European Union's (EU) top court ruled employers can prevent workers from wearing religious items such as headscarves, the Associated Press reported.

Thursday's decision was a result of a case heard by the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg after two women in Germany who decided to wear Islamic headscarves at work filed legal complaints.

The tribunal's ruling noted that the courts within the 27 member nations of the EU should decide on if banning visible religious items at work amounted to a "genuine need" from the employer. Also, the employee's rights and interests must be considered in regard to a certain EU country's laws governing freedom of religion, the ruling said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Women Wearing Headscarves in Germany
Employers can prevent workers from wearing religious items such as headscarves according to a ruling from the European Union's top court. Muslim women wearing headscarves walk in the immigrant-heavy district of Kreuzberg on Sept. 21, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

One of the women who brought the case to court works as a special needs carer while the other is a sales assistant and cashier.

Both filed legal complaints before German courts, which in turn referred questions to the EU tribunal.

Woman Wearing a Headscarf in Berlin, Germany
In this March 15, 2013 file photo a woman with a headscarf, a traditional dress for Islamic women, walks between other people on a street at the district Neukoelln in Berlin. Markus Schreiber/AP Photo