The Central Appeals Tribunal in the Netherlands made two rulings Tuesday in cases regarding the reduction of social assistance benefits for two Muslim men who refused to accept jobs based on religious reasons.
In the first case, the appellant refused to work as an Asbestos Removal Officer because the position would require him to be clean shaven. The appellant was not able to take the position because they keep a beard for religious reasons. The position required him to be clean shaven to ensure that the required respiratory face mask fits properly. The appellant’s benefits were reduced for one month for failing to follow through with the job opportunity.
Although the court found that the appellant’s right to religious freedom was infringed, the infringement was acceptable. The Board had found that the appellant had a small probability of finding work due to the appellant’s past history. Therefore, his refusal to take the guaranteed job put an undue pressure on public funds. the use of the mask was a medically necessary component of the job position. Therefore, the mask requirement is deemed to be an acceptable infringement of the religious freedom.
In the second case [in Dutch], the appellant refused to work at a store because the position required that he work Friday afternoons, which is when the appellant attends mosque. The appellant’s benefits were reduced for one month. The Court found that the store’s hours allow the store to schedule the appellant’s hours for other days of the week. Therefore, it was not necessary that the appellant work on Friday afternoon. This was deemed to not be a valid reason for infringing the religious freedom of the appellant.