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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.

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