Court Backs Muslim In Unemployment Benefits/Handshake Dispute
A Swedish court ruled Monday in favor of a Muslim man who lost unemployment benefits after refusing a female executive’s handshake, court documents indicate.
Stockholm District Court ordered Sweden’s National Public Employment Agency to pay $8,000 to the man, who was withdrawn from a labor market training program after refusing the handshake at a company with which he was going to intern, The Local reported.
The court ruled the agency knew the man’s religious convictions prevented him from shaking hands with women he did not know.
The company decided to cancel the internship offer, saying he did not have required skills and experience. The agency dropped him from the training program and as a result the man lost his job seeker’s allowance in May 2006.
He reported the experience to Sweden’s Discrimination Ombudsman, who found in the man’s favor. The court ordered the payment in compensation for violation of religious freedom.