US Disneyland Sued by Muslim Employee over Headscarf Ban

by Thilaka Ravi on  August 19, 2010 at 1:11 PM Lifestyle News
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Headscarf row has surfaced again and this time it is a Muslim woman who is suing Disneyland, accusing the company's California theme park of discrimination for telling her she could not serve customers if she chose to wear a headscarf.
 US Disneyland Sued by Muslim Employee over Headscarf Ban
US Disneyland Sued by Muslim Employee over Headscarf Ban

Imane Boudal, 26, asked her employers at Disneyland's Grand Californian Hotel several months ago whether they would permit her to wear a headcovering while working as a hostess, a spokeswoman for a worker's union said.

But when no reply was forthcoming, she decided to don the headscarf anyway, timing her decision with the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Leigh Shelton, a spokesman for the UNITE HERE Local 11 union said.

"Disney told Boudlal that if she wanted to work as a hostess she had to remove her hijab because it did not comply with the 'Disney Look,'" Shelton said in a statement.

"Disney further advised Boudlal that if she refused to remove her hijab, she could either work a back-of-the-house position where any customers would not see her, or else go home."

Boudlal refused the compromise and is now bringing Disney before the US Equal Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that handles claims of workplace discrimination.

"Their offer to put me in the back is humiliating," she said in a statement. "They're saying because I'm Arab, because I'm Moroccan, because I'm Muslim, they don't want to see me in the front."

The local branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group, said it had sent a letter to Disney demanding that the firm accommodate Boudlal.

"There is no justification for Disney's refusal to allow Ms Boudlal to wear her headscarf at work," said Ameena Mirza Qazi, deputy executive director and staff attorney at the group.

"To say that her headscarf would somehow impact guests is not only insulting to her, but is deeply offensive to the thousands of Muslims who open up their pocket-books at Disney parks and resorts every year," Qazi added in a statement.

Source: AFP

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As an Ex_cast member of several years service from Disney. When she was hired you go thru your first 1/2 day of orientation going over the Disney look. You are a cast member in a theater, so required to wear and look a certain way. this woman after 2 years decides to change her costume that has been selected to create an illusion for the part she is playing.. she was not fired for changing it, but was offered another postion as the cast out of public view,. If she wants to wear her 'hijab' out in public, all she needs to do is transfer to Walt Disney World [Florida] request to work for Epcot, at Morocco.... there the cast members wear the 'hijab' as it is part of the costume. Problem solved. I for one support the methods of what Disney is doing. if they didn't set guidelines for the Disney look. would you like to meet Aladin and have him covered in tattoos wearing nose rings? Mickey getting warm, and just ripping off his head for a breath of fresh air right in front of your child... these rules are in place to give a magic to the place, for us to relive the cartoon most of us grew up with ... Thank you for listening to my rant A Friend Of "Goofy" Walter H.


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