A man and a woman shaking hands.
Credit: Anders Wiklund / TT

School won against teacher who refused to shake hands

2:59 min

A temp teacher who said she faced discrimination after refusing to shake hands with a male colleague lost in court today.

The teacher claimed she was denied more shifts at the school after refusing to shake her colleague's hand. She is an observant Muslim and argued that touching the opposite sex goes against her religious conviction.

However, the school claimed she voluntarily declined more work. So it was word against word, and the labour court ruled in the school's favour.

But that also means that the principle at stake - whether handshaking can be made compulsory or not at a workplace - was not tried.

Both the union representing the woman and the lawyer representing the school regret that this case will not set a legal precedent.

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