Muslim Former Disney Employee Suing for Religious Discrimination

Imane Boudlal, a former Disneyland employee, says she was not allowed to wear her hijab (Updated)

Updated, 2:19 p.m. EST

A former Walt Disney Company employee who says she was fired for wearing a hijab head scarf  is suing the entertainment giant.

Imane Boudlal, who is Muslim, accuses the company of religious discrimination. She claims she faced anti-Arab and anti-Muslim harassment during two years with the company.

In her federal suit, the 28-year-old Boudl 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 that includes sensitivity to Muslim issues.

Boudal worked as a hostess at the Storytellers Café at Disney’s California Adventure theme park. She claims her coworkers and supervisors  referred to her with slurs, such as “terrorist" and “camel," and claims 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.  As a compromise, they said she had 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.  When she refused, she claims she was fired.

A spokeswoman for Disney did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Boudal is being back by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the law offices of Hadsell Stormer Richardson & Renick.