EU Wide: Scope for ban on Islamic headscarves in the workplace remains limited The European Court of Justice has decided that an internal rule which prohibits the visible wearing of any religious sign does not constitute direct discrimination based on religion or belief. Although such a rule might constitute indirect discrimination, it may be objectively justified.

Sweden: Changes to Discrimination Act With effect from 1 January 2017 a number of changes have been made to the Swedish Discrimination Act. The most significant change is to salary surveys, which employers must now conduct annually instead of every 3 years and which must be documented in writing if the employer employs at least 10 employees.

Italy: Privacy Authority confirms that indiscriminate checks on emails and smartphones are prohibited In a February 2017 newsletter, the Italian Privacy Authority for the protection of personal data has reaffirmed that indiscriminate access by employers to emails or personal information, contained in company smartphones used by employees, is unlawful conduct.

US: Key federal court broadens whistleblower protection A Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that the Dodd-Frank Act allows a whistleblower to sue his or her employer for retaliatory termination even if he or she did not report the violation to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

India: Changes to maternity benefits The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill has been passed by the Indian parliament. The bill will extend substantial benefits to the country's female workforce including increasing total maternity leave to 26 weeks, introducing the facility of working from home introducing provisions regarding crèche facilities.