Disney employee says she was prohibited wearing head scarf to work

Posted Thursday, August 19, 2010 12:22 PM | Contributed by Jeff

A Disney restaurant hostess said she wore her hijab in observance of Ramadan, and was asked to remove it. When she refused, she left work.

Read more from the Associated Press.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 12:29 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

Interesting. I actually don't agree with Disney on this. You simply cannot deny someone their freedom of religious expression.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Thursday, August 19, 2010 12:29 PM
Jeff's avatar

The PR person suggesting it didn't fit her costume is all kinds of lame. I think the employee didn't handle it well, but come on, she's a restaurant hostess. What "costume" does that require? Should the hostesses at Le Cellier start wearing Royal Canadian Mountie costumes too?

This from the company that goes out of its way to demonstrate diversity.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:05 PM

After reading this in another article, I don't have that much sympathy for the woman.

The complaint came shortly before Imane Boudlal, 26, made a public attempt -– in front of videographers, photographers and trailing reporters -– to begin her afternoon shift at the Storytellers Cafe at the Grand Californian Hotel.

In a news conference immediately following, Boudlal said she was told to take off her hijab, the head scarf some Muslim women wear, or work in a position in what the resort terms "backstage."[url][url]

Boudlal refused and walked out of the hotel, again flanked by media and community members, who briefly began chanting."

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:25 PM
Jeff's avatar

I don't disagree that the attention whoring is a little ridiculous, but also not entirely unexpected given the absurdity of Disney's requirement.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:26 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:
What "costume" does that require?

I think uniform would have been a better term.

I don't think it's unreasonable at all to say that her head scarf doesn't comply with employee dress code.

In other articles (like RGB mentioned) it talks about how Disney offered to let her work "backstage" until they could find a compromise that allows her to cover her head in a way that works with her hostess uniform.

Seems to me Disney is going out of their way to accomodate this woman.

Maybe the guy in the pot shirt story should have claimed religious discrimination instead of racial?

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:26 PM
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Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:30 PM
Jeff's avatar

OK, so put yourself in her shoes for a minute. Wouldn't you find that to be a degrading compromise? Regardless of intent, I'd feel like they were embarrassed by me.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:33 PM
kpjb's avatar

Yeah, I think "costume" comes from the same place that "cast member" does. Disney doesn't have "employees" and therefore doesn't have "uniforms."


Hi

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:35 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

I think it goes back to the Dredlocks at Carowinds, or beards and facial hair. If a company sets a standard for dress, and you want to work for said company, you can either choose to comply, or do this. I may not agree with Disney's opinions or policies on dress, but if it's against their policy for her to wear the headscarf in this particular job, and they offered her another position, then it's left up to her.


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Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:36 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:
OK, so put yourself in her shoes for a minute. Wouldn't you find that to be a degrading compromise? Regardless of intent, I'd feel like they were embarrassed by me.

No, I wouldn't.

No more so than the other countless things people haven't been able to wear/do at their jobs - both at Disney and everywhere else.

But especially at a place like Disney where the image to the customer is so carefully designed and controlled and is such a big part of their success.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:38 PM
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Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:46 PM
Jeff's avatar

OK, so you wouldn't feel that way, but I would. She does.

I have to ask, what image are they trying to control that would disallow a head scarf?


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:48 PM
kpjb's avatar

Originally I was on her side, (and I still think that the ban is silly, even if it conflicts with a "uniform") but after going back and actually reading the articles, I call shenanigans on this woman. She's worked there for 2-1/2 years and hasn't attempted this in years past, so what makes this year different?

Going in to work fully knowing that you can't wear the hijab while flanked by reporters and cameramen? C'mon.

“I’ve been sent home,” she said. “I thought maybe today is my lucky day because I have my friends, my supporters.”

No, you thought you could break the rules if you made a spectacle of yourself.

(edit: can't spell.)

Last edited by kpjb, Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:49 PM

Hi

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:49 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:
OK, so you wouldn't feel that way, but I would. She does.

Then it's her problem for taking a job where her scarf is a problem.

I have to ask, what image are they trying to control that would disallow a head scarf?

No idea, I don't work for Disney. Probably the same image that doesn't allow facial hair, earrings, tattoos or whatever else Disney frowns upon.

What do the wait staff at the Storyteller dress in?


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Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:17 PM
Vater's avatar

Yeah, I can't see her side in this at all. If it violates Disney's policy, what's there to discuss? Add to that that Disney has tried to be as accommodating as possible given the circumstances, and the fact that she decided to make a spectacle of herself in an attempt to make Disney look bad, I have no respect for this woman.

Edit: What the hell did you do to this thread, RGB? :)

Last edited by Vater, Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:18 PM
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Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:32 PM

Let private employers set their own policies. Prospective employees who don't like those policies can work somewhere else (or start their own company and make their own policies). Prospective customers who are bothered by the policies should patronize other businesses.

What was it about her third Ramadan working at Disney that was different than the prior two?

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:41 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

GoBucks89 said:
What was it about her third Ramadan working at Disney that was different than the prior two?

According to the article I linked to:

"Boudlal has worked at the Storyteller restaurant at the hotel for 2½ years but only realized she could wear her hijab to work after studying for her U.S. citizenship exam in June, Qazi said."


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Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:43 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

OK, now that I see it's her 3rd year, I'm a bit confused as to why this hasn't become an issue before. I still don't think it's OK to deny religious expression, though.


edit: oh, Gonch explained while I was typing.

Last edited by Raven-Phile, Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:43 PM
R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:48 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Yeah, and that's what makes this situation different than any other dress code (business can make their own policies) situation. The dress is associated with her religion. However, having said that, it sounds like Disney acted within their rights by offering to allow her to work elsewhere while she wore the hijab.

At that point the only question becomes was the substitute work comparable to her current role. It would have to be the same wage, of course, but also a reasonable substitution. (e.g. They couldn't offer to let her clean toilets in substitution for her hostess role.) If it meets that kind of standard, then I assume she has no case. But then what do I know?

Last edited by Carrie M., Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:49 PM

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:50 PM

The US citizenship exam says that people can wear whatever they want to work? Seems to me that she brought the media with her to work the first time she wore it indicates that she knew that wasn't quite true.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:52 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

I'm offended by this topic's overuse of italics. Anyone else seeing this? It's not happening on any other thread.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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