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Handshake Discrimination Case

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A woman who refused an interviewer's handshake wins her discrimination case!

A woman from Sweden attended an interview, and during that interview the male interviewer put his hand out to gesture a hand shake. The woman, who practises the Muslim faith declined to shake the hand of the male interviewer and instead placed her hand on her heart as part of a greeting gesture. The interviewer then cut the interview short.

The woman claimed that she was discriminated against. Due to religious reasons, some Muslims will avoid physical contact with those of the opposite sex. The woman said that she greeted both men and women in this same manner.

The Company's argument was that they must treat both men and women equally and therefore refusing a handshake due to gender was not permitted under the company policy.

The Swedish Labour Court ruled in her favour of indirect discrimination and the Company were ordered to pay 40,000 kroner, which is equivalent to around £3,420. When awarding damages the Court had to take into account that she may never have even been offered the job, had the interview had been completed.

Do you feel you have been discriminated against?  Our Employment team are always on hand to discuss this and any other matter - please do not hesitate to contact Sonia Gaddu on 01384 888754 or 0800 118 1500.