A Muslim woman who works as a hostess in Disneyland has filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Disney because she has been told she cannot wear her hijab while working. Imane Boudlal works as a hostess at the Storyteller’s Restaurant in Disneyland’s Grand California Hotel. She was sent home by her employer seven times without pay for wearing her white headscarf against her employer’s policy.
According to KTLA.com, Boudlal, 26, became a U.S. citizen last June after emigrating from Morocco five years ago. Boudlal has worked for Disneyland for two years, but only decided to challenge Disney’s strict dress code after earning her citizenship. She said the U.S. Constitution grants religious freedom and that is what she is asking for. She asked for religious accommodation to wear the scarf two months ago.
Disney says that they have tried to compromise, offering Boudlal a position in the back of the restaurant and away from interaction with customers. They say they have strict clothing rules because employees who work with customers are basically “on stage” and in costume. They also gave her a hat to wear on top of a bonnet, as a replacement for the headscarf while working.
Boudlal said that she found the hat offensive and believed it made a joke out of her religion and called more attention to her. She believes that wearing the hijab does not hurt Disney or customers, so she does not understand why she cannot wear it.
Muslim Hostess Calls Disney’s Replacement Hijab ‘Offensive’ (KTLA.com)