The Swedish Public Employment Service

Agency Says No to Handshake Appeal

The Swedish Public Employment Service will not repeal a February district court decision that ordered the agency to pay the equivalent of 8,000 US dollars in damages to a Muslim man who refused to shake hands with a female CEO when seeking an internship.

The Employment Service maintained that the lack of handshake cost the man the internship, and took away his job-seeking benefits as a result, which depend upon his actively participating in the job employment scheme in which he was enrolled.

The court ruled in favor of the man, saying that the Public Employment Service discriminated against him because of his religion. According to the court's ruling, it was clear that the man could not shake hands with the female head because of religious reasons, and not because he simply refused to do so.

The Service wrote in a statement that it decided not to appeal the ruling because it would make it seem like the agency requires that one "has to greet people in a particular way to be able to participate in job market programs, which is not the case."

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