The Walt Disney Company denies a Muslim former employee's claims that she was barred from wearing a hijab head scarf at work.
Imane Boudlal, who worked as a hostess at the Storytellers Café at Disney’s California Adventure theme park, has sued the company on religious discrimination grounds. But Disney said it presented her with several job options that would have allowed her to wear her hijab. The company claims she rejected its efforts and refused to come to work.
“Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has a history of accommodating religious requests from cast members of all faiths," Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown said in a statement.
In her federal suit, Boudl, 28, is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent Disney from prohibiting employees from wearing hijabs. She is also asking for punitive damages and anti-harassment training for company employees.
Boudal claims her coworkers and supervisors referred to her with slurs, such as “terrorist" and “camel," and that her managers failed to stop the offensive language.
Boudlal claims that her managers also denied her request to wear her head scarf, saying the hijab would violate Disney’s policy regarding its employees' uniforms and would negatively affect the experience of restaurant patrons.
She said they offered her a choice of either working in a back area, away from customers, or of wearing a large fedora-type hat on top of her hijab. She said she was fired after she rejected those options.
Boudal is being back by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the law firm of Hadsell Stormer Richardson & Renick.