Swedish Muslim wins £3,420 after indirect discrimination case

20 August 2018

A Swedish Muslim woman has won compensation after her job interview was ended when she refused a handshake.

A report from the BBC states that Farah Alhajeh, 24, was applying for a job as an interpreter when she declined to shake the hand of a male interviewer for religious reasons. She placed her hand over her heart in greeting instead.

The Swedish labour court ruled the company had discriminated against her and ordered it to pay 40,000 kronor ($4,350; £3,420) in compensation.

Reportedly some Muslims avoid physical contact with members of the opposite sex, except for those in their immediate family. However, handshakes are traditional in Europe. Additionally, anti-discrimination legislation may forbid companies and public bodies from treating people differently because of their gender.

Sweden's discrimination ombudsman's office, which represented 24-year-old Ms Alhajeh, said the judgement had taken into account "the employer's interests, the individual's right to bodily integrity, and the importance of the state to maintain protection for religious freedom".

Read the full report from BBC News.