A Muslim woman who works as a hostess at a Disneyland restaurant filed a federal discrimination complaint Wednesday against her employer: It alleges she was prohibited from wearing her “hijab” head covering at work, a sister blog OC Weekly reports.
Imane Boudlal who has been working at the Grand Californian Hotel's Storytellers Restaurant for more than two years recently wore her head covering and was sent home without pay — three times, according to our sister publication.
Boudlal, who filed her claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said she was going to try to wear the hijab Wednesday — for a fourth try.
“As long as she's been there, she took off her hijab before she went to work because it's against Disney policy,'' said Leigh Shelton, a spokeswoman for Boudlal's union, Unite Here Local 11. “But more recently she's gone through some experiences that have enlightened her a little, and she wanted to challenge the policy because it's illegal and wrong.''
Disneyland reps said they tried to accommodate Boudlal's request to wear the hijab.
`”We have been working directly with her on accommodations,'' Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown said. “In the interim, we offered reasonable accommodations to allow her to work during her scheduled shifts, which she declined.''
Shelton countered that Disneyland did allow her to wear the head covering, but only in the absence of customers.
Disneyland denied Boudlal's discrimination allegations and blamed a longstanding feud with the union, which wants a new contract for Disney's hotel workers.
“The company values diversity and has a long-standing policy against discrimination of any kind,'' Brown said. “Unfortunately, this is yet another attempt by Local 11 to distort the facts and distract from the real issue that their members have been without a contract for two and a half years.''
Unite Here has staged numerous protests against Disneyland for more than two years.
With reporting from City News Service