Back in 2010, Disney made headlines for its seemingly discriminatory employment practices, when company supervisors told a Muslim employee, Imane Boudlal, that her headscarf was against company dress code and needed to be either removed or covered up. Boudlal, who wears a hijab as part of her religion, refused to remove her headscarf or accept the alternative offered by Disney, which was to take a job working out of public sight. She then was fired from her hostess job at the Storytellers Café, a restaurant inside Disney’s Grand California Hotel & Spa at Disneyland.
Two years later, Boudlal has filed a lawsuit against Disney seeking punitive damages and an order for Disney to stop prohibiting employees from wearing hijabs. It also asks Disney to provide anti-harassment training for employees about Muslim issues, as the lawsuit claims that Boudlal had been subject to anti-Arab and anti-Muslim slurs from co-workers and supervisors during her employment term.
“Disneyland calls itself the happiest place on earth, but I faced harassment as soon as I started working there,” she said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. “It only got worse when I decided to wear a hijab.”
In rebuttal, Disney spokespeople say the company offered Boudlal several dressing options to accommodate the headscarf, as well as four different jobs where she could wear the jihab. They also maintain that Boudlal “refused to come to work” and that Disney has had a history of accommodating religious requests, reports Reuters.
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