Soon after those jihadist attacks that left 130 dead, management from the Securitas security firm summoned several male staff members working for it at Orly, all of them Muslim and all of them bearded.
They were told that with passengers on edge, it would be appreciated if they could all trim or shave off their beards to adhere to the firm’s strict grooming policy.
Most of the men, who worked at the security points where passengers and their hand luggage are screened, complied, but four did not, and launched discrimination complaints.
Their case is to be heard at an industrial tribunal in Bobigny.
The men were suspended a week after refusing to shave and some months later received a letter telling them they were sacked. Securitas denies any discrimination, and argues that the ex-employees simply refused to adhere to company rules stating that facial hair needed to be kept short and well-groomed.
The tribunal hearing is likely to be dominated by arguments over what length of a beard is “acceptable” and whether a beard can be considered a religious symbol.
The European Court of Justice ruled in March that companies should be allowed to to ban their staff from wearing visible religious symbols.