Headscarf ban allowed in gyms

The Regional Court in Bremen Germany has ruled that fitness gyms are permitted to implement headscarf bans. The court found that provided such bans are for safety and not religious reasons, they do not amount to discrimination (21.06.2013 Az. 4 S 89/12).

Should gyms be allowed to implement headscarf bans? © ferkelraggae-Fotolia

Should gyms be allowed to implement headscarf bans? © ferkelraggae-Fotolia

Jewellery and headscarf ban

The defendant in the case was the owner of a gym for women. The terms and conditions of use of the gym expressly prohibited the wearing of head coverings and jewellery.

The claimant joined the gym in April 2010. A dispute arose as the woman wore her headscarf while training and ignored requests to remove it.

The gym owner then terminated the woman’s membership with effect on 31 May 2010.

The gym member brought a claim for compensation of not more than €2,500 on the grounds of discrimination. She argued that the termination of her gym membership breached Germany’s equality legislation (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz).

The county court conducted a thorough investigation of the evidence and rejected the claim (30.01.2012 Az. 42 C 1105/10). The claimant then appealed.

Safety first

The regional court rejected the appeal finding that as the gym owner’s request to remove the headscarf was not religiously motivated, there was no discrimination.

The court agreed with the gym owner that there was a risk the headscarf could get caught in the training machines. The headscarf ban therefore served to avoid injury.

The regional court rejected the claimant’s application to appeal.

Christian Solmecke ist Partner der Kanzlei WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE und inbesondere in den Bereichen des IT-, des Medien- und des Internetrechts tätig. Darüber hinaus ist er Autor zahlreicher juristischer Fachveröffentlichungen in diesen Bereichen.

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