The request of a trainee doctor practicing at the Saint-Denis hospital center, fired in February 2014 because his beard was deemed “religiously ostentatious,” was rejected by the Administrative Appeal Court of Versailles in a decision issued December 19th.
The court ruled that “growing a beard, even a long one, cannot alone constitute a sign of religious affiliation.” Rather, it is only in the presence of some “justifying elements that it actually represents (…) the manifestation of a claim or a religious affiliation.”
The hospital management had asked Mr. A to shave his “imposing” beard three times, but he refused. The court found that Egyptian doctor “breached his obligations with regard to respect for secularism and the principle of neutrality in public service.” The judge stressed that even if “growing his beard was not accompanied by an act of proselytism” the disciplinary measure is “legally justified.”
His lawyer Nawel Gafsia told Le Figaro that her client “was finally able to do his internship at Paul Brousse hospital in Villejuif” and that “his 5 cm long beard did not bother anyone.”