- Tamanna Begum wore jilbab, which covered her feet, to nursery interview
- She was offered an apprenticeship, but asked to wear slightly shorter version of gown
- But Ms Begum, a devout Sunni Muslim, said it was 'against her beliefs'
- Tribunal has upheld ruling that gown was 'regarded as a tripping hazard'
Safety risk: Tamanna Begum wanted to wear a floor-length jilbab, like the ones pictured in this file image
A Muslim nursery worker lost her legal battle to wear a traditional Islamic gown after it was deemed to be a health and safety risk.
Tamanna Begum, a devout Sunni Muslim, wanted to wear a flowing, head-to-toe jilbab gown to her interview at Barley Lane Montessori Day Nursery in Ilford, Essex.
She was offered an apprenticeship, but the manager asked if she could wear a slightly shorter jilbab - one that did not extend over her feet - when she took up the role.
Ms Begum, a devout Sunni Muslim, said that she would discuss the request with her family.
The nursery, which provides day care to children aged two months and over, was expecting Ms Begum to start working at the nursery and was surprised when she failed to show on her first day.
Instead, she issued a tribunal claim for religious discrimination, saying that she 'had been insulted' by the request at her October 2011 interview.
She claimed that it would be 'against her morals and beliefs' to wear a shorter garment and that she had suffered discrimination because of her 'ethnic or cultural background'.
She refused to accept that her full-length dress posed a health and safety risk, saying she wore it while running and jumping outdoors.
But the Employment Appeal Tribunal has now upheld a ruling by East London employment tribunal that the gown was 'reasonably regarded as a tripping hazard' by the nursery.
Judge Daniel Serota QC noted that Ms Begum was only asked to wear a shorter version of the jilbab she sported at interview rather than being banned from wearing the religious garment at all.
He cited the original tribunal's ruling: 'At no point was she told that she could not wear a jilbab while working at the nursery.'
The original tribunal panel also correctly concluded that health and safety policy 'applied equally to staff of all religions' and ruled that the request was a proportionate means of 'protecting the health and safety of staff and children.'
The nursery employed 16 staff, including four Muslim women who wore hijabs and were accommodated by their employer with prayer time and time off work for Ramadan.
The appeal judge found in favour of the nursery's owner, Pedagogy Auras UK Ltd.
Commenting on the case, a National Secular Society spokesperson said: 'Clearly the health and safety of staff and children is the priority here.
'There is not an unlimited right to manifest your religion in the workplace. The employer made a very reasonable, practical request and we are pleased to see the judge siding with them.'