Woman awarded €1,550 for headscarf jibe

The Local Austria
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Woman awarded €1,550 for headscarf jibe
File photo: APA

A young Muslim woman has been awarded €1,550 in damages after the Upper Austrian Chamber of Labour and the Ombud for Equal Treatment ruled that she had been discriminated against in a job application because she wears a headscarf.


The woman, who was completing a vocational training, heard about a vacancy in a metal processing company and applied for the job. During her interview her potential employer pointed out that it was hard to tell what she was really like as she was wearing a headscarf. She said that she was told “we’d be willing to consider you if you take off that rag”.

When she proposed that she could wear a wig instead she said that they laughed at her and told her she was a "bumpkin". She was told to apply for the job again, "but this time send in a normal photo". 

The young woman complained to the Ombud for Equal Treatment in Vienna. A commission ruled that it was a case of religious-based discrimination.

The Upper Austrian Chamber of Labour then went to court on behalf of the Muslim woman. The woman who had interviewed her was ordered to pay her €1,000 and the firm was ordered to pay another €550. 



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