This story has appeared in the English-language press, so it must be considered an unusual event. The wishes of ramadan-observing Muslims take precedence over the stipulations of their work contract. Here is an account from Nations Presse, dated July 31:
The municipality of Gennevilliers has just announced that it has given up forbidding its employees to fast, even though, on Friday, four Muslim summer camp monitors had been suspended for observing the ramadan fast, and for refusing to eat and stay hydrated as their work contract stipulated.
The four Muslims worked at a summer sports camp in Port-d'Albret, in les Landes.
The municipality justified its decision to suspend the four by saying that the monitors "did not respect the obligations of their contract while on the job, and thus risked endangering the physical safety of the children entrusted to them."
"The clause in the contract was misinterpreted," explained the Communist mayor of Gennevilliers, Jacques Bourgoin. "It all started with an accident two years ago when two children were injured because the woman driving the van was observing the fast and experienced a malaise. That's why they added this clause to the contract, but since it appears discriminatory to some, we want the discussion to be serene," added the Communist official.
Jacques Bourgoin, the mayor of Gennevilliers, who has never shown the slightest courage in defending "laïcité" (separation of Church and State) when confronted with pressures from the Islamists of his city whose religious demands have been multiplying for years, once again surrenders to the pressures of ethno-religious associations.
Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood can cry victory.
Below, Mayor Bourgoin, in black coat, at the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Gennevilliers mosque.
Another entry from Nations Presse dated August 1 from Steeve Briois, general secretary of the Front National, denounces the position of UMP party leader Jean-François Copé:
Through his condemnation of the suspension (which has since been annulled) of the Gennevilliers camp monitors, Jean-François Copé has discredited all of the UMP party's tough talk on immigration, integration and communitarianism.
The man running for chairmanship of the UMP declared that "nobody has ever demonstrated that the practice of ramadan prevents a person from doing his job." (…)
(We) thank Jean-François Copé for confirming what Marine Le Pen and her party have been saying for many months: the UMP and the PS are indeed the Yin and Yang of French politics, two parties of the same system, opposed only in appearance, and totally compatible in reality. (…)
And yet we praise Jean-François Copé for finally finding a way to oppose the left: by being more to the left than the left!
Le Figaro asked a lawyer who specializes in "social law" what he thought of this matter. Since the lawyer, Malik Douaoui, has an Arabic name (his religion isn't given) his answer is all the more welcome:
- Were the four monitors victims of discrimination?
- The employer is bound by a principle of "non-discrimination": the religious convictions of the worker could not therefore be a reason for the sanction. On the other hand, there may be restrictions on religious freedom, on the condition that they are "justified by the nature of the task to be accomplished and in proportion to the desired goal." (article L1121.1 of the labor law). The monitors' contract stipulated that they were obligated to take food and water. Was the employer discriminating when he made these requirements? I don't think so, because he did not do it in order to forbid ramadan, but for the children's safety. The worker cannot hide behind religious convictions to escape his contract obligations. In March 1998, the appeals court deemed justified the laying off of a Muslim butcher who refused to be in contact with pork.
Note: Apologies for posting this entry by error without a title. It has just been added.
Labels: Islam, Laïcité, Ramadan, Religion