Europe's leading human rights court upheld the France's ban on Islamic headscarves in the case of a Muslim social worker who was sacked because she refused to take hers off.

Christiane Ebrahimian lost her job at a psychiatric department of a hospital in Nanterre because patients complained about her refusal to remove her head covering.

She lost her appeal at the European Court of Human Rights today. 

The French government bars public employees from displaying their religious beliefs on the job.

In 2004, the country banned the wearing of 'conspicuous religious symbols' including the Muslim face veil, known as the niqab.

The ban was eventually extended to schoolchildren and even parents who wanted to accompany classes on trips. 

In 2010, the country banned face coverings of all kinds, including masks, niqabs and the full body dress known as a burqa, in public spaces 'except under specified circumstances'. 

 Ms Ebrahimian was born in 1951 and lived in the capital Paris at the time of the ruling, according to Dr Georg Neureither who founded the online religious platform, Religion Weltanschaaung Recht.

He said she was recruited to the hospital on a fixed term contract as a social worker. On December 11, 2000, she was told that her contract would be terminated because patients complained she would not take off her headscarf. 

In May 2000, the hospital wrote to her to remind her that the 'the secular State... prevented public officials from enjoying the right to manifest their religious beliefs while discharging their functions'.

It added: 'Wearing a visible symbol of religious affiliation constituted a breach of a public official's duties.'

A local government in Switzerland imposed a similar rule this week by threatening to issue fines of up to £6,500 to women caught wearing the burqa in shops, restaurants or public buildings.

Officials in the state of Ticino, southern Switzerland, approved the ban after a referendum in September 2013 which saw two out of three voters backing the move.

Ticino government had wanted to ban burqas and niqabs as well as masks worn by demonstrators and balaclavas, it was reported. 

Courtesy Daily Mail