Muslim lawyer 'sacked for her headscarf'

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A Muslim lawyer claims she was sacked by the Church of England's solicitors because her religious clothing was an embarrassment to the firm.

Sophia Moussaoui, a 29-year-old divorce lawyer, claims she was dismissed for wearing a religious headscarf and is now bringing an employment tribunal complaint against one of the country's leading law firms, alleging racial and sexual discrimination.

Ms Moussaoui lost her job after Radcliffes, which is based in Westminster, merged with Jay Benning & Peltz, where she first qualified as a solicitor.

She claims that her headscarf was an "embarrassment" to the firm because it acts for the Church Commissioners, who manage the Church of England's assets.

In November she was told she was to be made redundant on the basis that Radcliffes did not want to employ any solicitors of less than three years' qualification in its matrimonial department.

But in a subsequent conversation with one of the partners she alleges that she was told the reason for her dismissal was not her religion but the "way you dress".

A date for a tribunal hearing has been set for January. Yesterday Radcliffes' chief executive, Vincent Denham, said the firm would be "vigorously defending" the claim and declined to comment any further.