quill.gif (3183 bytes) Mlle Marteaux v. Recteur académie de Reims , Avis n° 217017, Conseil d'Etat, 3 mai 2000

Facts: Mlle Julie Marteaux was a teacher in a French public high school. Disciplinary sanctions were taken against her because she taught her classes wearing a religious sign aiming at showing her religious beliefs. The director of the local educational academy (« le recteur de l'académie de Reims ») terminated her employment contract.

Complaint: She brought a claim to have the termination of her employment cancelled on the ground that it violated her rights to freedom of religion. This was refused by a decision of the tribunal administratif de Châlons-en-Champagne on Janury 25, 2000. She appealed before the Conseil d'Etat.

Holding: the Conseil d'Etat upheld the decision below against the plaintiff.

Reasoning: the Constitution of 1958 and the laws n° 83-634 of July 13, 1983, article 12 of the Law n° 87-1127 of December 31, 1987 and the Law n° 89-486 of July 10, 1989 affirmed the principles of non-religious nature of the French state and the neutrality of the public services. Those principles overweighed the right to free conscience, belief and religion and the right to non discrimination. The plaintiff failed to comply with her duties to keep the French public education non-religious. Accordingly, the disciplinary sanctions taken against her were justified.

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