A Disney restaurant hostess is suing for permission to wear a hijab while working. Imane Boudlal has worked as a hostess at Storyteller’s Restaurant in Disney’s California Hotel & Spa for two years. Bodlal filed a discrimination complaint after being sent home without pay for refusing to remove her headscarf. The company says it offered to let her wear the hijab “in a backstage role.”
Disney officials maintain that Boudlal had the opportunity to work. The officials stated she was offered her position in a backstage role every shift she has worked. Officials maintain it was Boudlal, who ultimately made the decision to leave when work was available. ”She’s been allowed to work,” said Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown. “We’ve given her the opportunity to work in a backstage role the last several shifts that she’s come in.”
Boudlal argues that forcing her to accept a new position because of her hijab is blatant discrimination. Boudlal said she approached her employer in June about her decision to wear the hijab on the job. She waited for the approval from Disney corporate offices and followed up when she never heard an answer. Boudlal also claims she was taken to the costume department to look for other alternatives of headdress.
The Council on American Islamic Relations is representing Boudlal. A Disney representative stated the hijab would be a deviation from the costume policy for the role as hostess. Officials also stated that Boudlal is not the only employee who wears religious clothing; others just agree to work behind the scenes.