Imane Boudlal Sues Disneyland Over Headscarf Controversy
Imane Boudlal is Now Suing Disneyland After She Was Asked to Remove Her Headscarf
The Muslim woman is now accusing the world-famous theme park for discrimination as she was reportedly told she could not serve customers at Disneyland's Grand California Hotel if she was wearing her headscarf.
According to the Telegraph, Ms. Boudlal, who has worked there for a few years, asked her employers if she could wear her headscarf while she was a hostess at the hotel but she she claims she received no reply. She decided to wear it anyway as it was the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, although she had reportedly not worn it before to work.
Leigh Shelton, a spokesman for the Unite Here Local 11 union said:
“Disney told Boudlal that if she wanted to work as a hostess she had to remove her hijab because it did not comply with the 'Disney Look,’” the spokesman said.
Ms. Boudlal says she was offered a hat 'or something' but she did not want to wear that, she wanted to wear her hijab. Mr. Shelton says they went on to tell Ms. Boudlal that if she did not remove her hijab she could either take a back-of-house position or go home.
She has now decided to sue the company and has brought her case before the US Equal Opportunity Commission; she says their choice of putting her in a back-of-house position was 'humiliating'.
Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown says that Ms. Boudlal was never denied the opportunity to work and they only offered her a back-of-house position as a temporary measure while something could be worked out, but a local branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said:
“There is no justification for Disney’s refusal to allow Ms Boudlal to wear her headscarf at work,” said Ameena Mirza Qazi, deputy executive director and staff attorney at the group.
“To say that her headscarf would somehow impact guests is not only insulting to her, but is deeply offensive to the thousands of Muslims who open up their pocketbooks at Disney parks and resorts every year.”