03 April 2017

Swedish company sued in handshaking row

Sweden's discrimination ombudsman DO has sued a company after a woman's job interview was cut short when it became known that she would not shake hands for religious reasons.

The woman had been called to a job interview in Uppsala with a company providing interpretation services via telephone or video. But when the handshaking disagreement emerged, the company called off the ongoing interview, according to a statement by DO.

"In the first place, DO questions that the company at the time had a neutrality policy aimed at religious expressions, but believes in any case that such a policy had not been applied in a consistent and proportionate way," reads the statement, issued on Monday.

Last month the European Court of Justice ruled that employers are entitled in certain circumstances to require employees to for example dress neutrally in line with the company's image, meaning that a ban on the "visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign in the workplace" could be legal. [The Local] Read more