French companies are increasingly facing religious demands from their employees and need a change in the labour code to be able to reject requests they find unreasonable, an official report said on Thursday.
Most cases concern Muslims seeking time off for prayers or halal food in company cafeterias, but demands have also come from other faith groups as well as workers resentful of colleagues who get special treatment, officials said.
In recent years, France has banned religious dress such as Muslim headscarves in state schools and full facial veils in public, but it has no laws covering religious issues that may arise in private companies.
The High Council for Integration (HCI) report suggested a labour code amendment allowing companies "to include in their internal rules clauses about clothing, religious insignia and religious practices in the company".
The report gave no figures for the extent of demands for exceptions linked to religion but said they came up so often in hearings the HCI had conducted that they merited attention.
HCI chairman Patrick Gaubert told journalists his council had learned of hundreds of cases of religious demands in companies in recent years and found they were appearing in many regions around the country.