In the political satire "Bulworth" the press are shown asking inanely "Is there a controversy here": the last week has felt much the same with the coverage (which is indeed the appropriate word) of the veil row. In this climate it's no suprise that employment law has been roped in. The Guardian reports the suspension of a teaching assitant for refusal to remove her veil when teaching. The report says the matter is going to a Tribunal already. I assume that the teacher is challenging the suspension as being in breach of the 2003 rules on religious discrimination and possibly under the sex discrimination act. If the claim is one of direct discrimination the school will have to show that it would suspend a non-moslem for wearing attire that covered the face. That should be an easy task as its hard to believe a school would tolerate a teacher wearing a full balaclava in the class room. The trickier task is to defend a claim of indirect discrimination. A rule that a teacher's face must be visible to the pupils is on the face of it neutral but in reality is aimed at preventing the use of the full veil. To defend the claim the school will need to show that the requirement is a proportionate method of achieving a legitimate aim. Expect to hear a lot from anthropoligists and educational psychologists as this moves through the system. As a School Governor myself I know where my sympathies lie.