The Versailles administrative court of appeal has upheld a hospital's decision to fire a trainee doctor of Egyptian origin for having "a beard that was too long" and "too religious".

The trainee was fired by the Saint-Denis hospital centre (Seine-Saint-Denis) during his work placement with the surgery department in October 2013, because he had refused to cut his "imposing" beard, reports news source FranceInfo.

The ruling centres on the fact that the hospital judged the beard as long enough to appear as an "ostentatious display of religious belief", thus contravening the French principle of "laïcité" or secularism: the separation of religion and state.

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