Report Suggests New Law Needed As French firms face religious demands from employees

Reuters – September 16, 2011

French companies are increasingly facing religious demands from their employees and need a change in the labor code to be able to reject requests they find unreasonable, according to a report from the High Council for Integration (HCI). Most cases concern Muslims seeking time off for prayers or halal food in company cafeterias, but demands have also come from other faith groups as well as workers resentful of colleagues who get special treatment, officials said while presenting the report in Paris. In recent years, France has banned religious dress such as Muslim headscarves in state schools and full facial veils in public, but it has no laws covering religious issues that may arise in private companies.

Alain Seksig, author of the report, said the proposal would go to Prime Minister Francois Fillon and any change in the labor code would need to be approved by parliament.