Top of page ↑

Welcome to the European Employment Law Cases (EELC), an online database of judgments of national courts, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights in the field of employment law. In addition to case law, we also bring you the occasional articles and news items. For more information, please click here.

1,035 search results

Court watch

2011-02-03

ECtHR 3 February 2011 (Siebenharr – v – Germany), Application no. 18136/02, Fundamental rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has recently considered, or will be considering these cases, which have both a direct and indirect impact on employment law. 

In Siebenhaar – v – Germany, the European Court considers the position of the Church as an employer. What is unusual is that this case is now the third such case against Germany in less than six months (Both Obst – v – Germany (Application No 425/03) and Schuth – v – Germany (Application No 1620/03) were decided on 23 September 2010, see EELC 2010-5).

On 12 April 2011, the European Court accepted two cases from the United Kingdom on the place of religious rights in the employment context. In both McFarlane and Ladele, an employee who is a practising Christian refused to preside over a civil partnership service for homosexuals on the premise that they would be facilitating their lifestyle.

It is because of the increasing sensitivity of this issue that the subject should be addressed. Further, it is prudent to note the upcoming cases from the United Kingdom because of their likely widespread impact on employment practice throughout Europe.

The issue of an employee’s religious rights in the workplace is becoming contentious across Europe and it further appears that the Christian faith is particularly problematic. This is likely to be because of twin factors, which appear contradictory. The first is the increasing secularism within the EU and the consequent displacement of Judeo-Christian values; the second is the increasing importance of religion in a multi-faith Europe.

European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), 2011-02-03