Muslim woman wins Swedish 'handshake case'

Swedish court rules company discriminated against Muslim woman who refused to shake hands with male interviewer.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Gavel (illustration)
Gavel (illustration)

A Swedish court on Wednesday night ruled that a Muslim woman receive $4,348 (40,000 Swedish krona) in compensation after a company indirectly discriminated against her for refusing to shake hands during a job interview.

Last year, Farah Alhajeh, 24, had her interview terminated when she refused to shake hands with the male interviewer due to religious reasons.

She would not have had to shake hands with customers if she had been hired.

In their ruling, the court declared it had been unable to determine if Alhajeh would have been hired had the interview not been cut short. They also said there was no indication Alhajeh was unable to function in an gender-equal workplace, The Local noted.

According to The Local, the company said it does not accept greetings other than handshakes, and gender discrimination for religious reasons is offensive and can lead to conflict. They also stressed that they treat men and women equally, and that most Muslims shake hands with members of the opposite gender.

Following the interview, Alhajeh reported the event to the ombudsman.

Sweden's SVT television quoted Alhajeh as saying, "The money was never important. That doesn’t matter at all. The important thing for me was that I was right."

"I hope I can give hope to other Muslims who go through the same thing and feel there’s no point in going on with it."