Religion in the company: what are the rules?

Verified 31 July 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

Rules and regulations Can a person limit the religious expression of employees? Can an employee wear religious dress in the company? Can he refuse to do certain tasks because of his religion? Religious freedom is a principle. The employer may impose restrictions if these are justified by the nature of the tasks entrusted to the employee. We're doing an update on the regulations.

Yes, the wearing of a religious sign or garment is permitted.

However, the freedom to dress during time and in the workplace is not a fundamental freedom. The employer may prohibit certain outfits or accessories (or require the wearing of certain outfits) for reasons of safety, health or sanitary hygiene.

This is the case, for example, of incompatibility between the wearing of a religious sign and mandatory protective equipment.

This is also the case for risks (mechanical or chemical) increased by wearing unsuitable clothing or insignia.


a clause of the rules and regulations may prohibit an employee in contact with customers from wearing any sign showing personal convictions.

The employee is not allowed to hide his face when he works in a place open to the public or a body with a public service mission. These may be shops, cinemas, banks, but also, for example, a private clinic.

Clothing that makes it impossible to identify the person is prohibited. It can be a hood, a full-face veil (burqa, niqab, etc.).

In the event of non-compliance, the employee may be fined €150 maximum.

However, this prohibition does not apply to an employee working in a company whose access is restricted to staff.

No, the labor code does not provide for a holiday for a religious holiday.

The employee may be absent if authorized by the employer. The employer is entitled to refuse. The employee is not obliged to state the religious reason for his request for leave.

Please note

some collective agreements (or company agreements) may provide for a right to be absent for a religious ceremony or feast.

No, the employee cannot refuse medical visits on religious grounds: they are an obligation for all employees.

Yes, the employee may request a schedule adjustment. The employer may grant it, but it is not required to do so.

The organization of working time is a matter for the employer's management. It is up to him to define the hours adapted to the good running of the company.

The employer may not prohibit an employee from praying in his office during his break if this does not interfere with the organization of work. It may prohibit prayers if they take place during working time or if they disturb the work of other employees.

No, religion cannot be a reason for refusing to perform the tasks for which the employee was hired.

No, an employee may not attempt to persuade other employees to adhere to his religion at the workplace. Employees are also prohibited from imposing their religious beliefs at the workplace.