World Bulletin / News Desk
A former Disneyland restaurant employee sued Walt Disney Co on Monday for harassment and religious discrimination, saying she was fired because she wanted to wear a Muslim head scarf at work.
Imane Boudlal, a 28-year-old Muslim, worked as a hostess at the Storytellers Cafe, a restaurant inside Disney's Grand California Hotel & Spa at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, according to a complaint filed in federal court.
Two years into the job, Boudlal asked permission to wear a hijab, a head scarf worn by Muslim women, while at work. She said she offered to wear a scarf that matched the colors of her uniform or featured a Disney logo.
According to her lawsuit, Disney managers denied her request, saying it would violate the company's policy for how employees "look" while on the job. Among the restrictions, the policy prohibits visible tattoos and fingernails that exceed a quarter of an inch, the lawsuit said.
Boudlal said she was given the choice of working in a back area, away from customers, or wearing a fedora-style hat on top of her head scarf. When Boudlal refused, she was fired, the lawsuit states.
A U.S. citizen who was born in Morocco, Boudlal said she was also subject to anti-Arab and anti-Muslim slurs, including being called "terrorist" and "camel" by co-workers and supervisors. She said she reported the incidents to managers, but they took no action.
"Disneyland calls itself the happiest place on earth, but I faced harassment as soon as I started working there," Boudlal said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. "It only got worse when I decided to wear a hijab."
Disney said it offered Boudlal several options for a costume that would accommodate her religious beliefs, as well as four different jobs where she could wear her own hijab.
"Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has a history of accommodating religious requests from cast members of all faiths," Disneyland Resort spokeswoman Suzi Brown said in a statement.
"Unfortunately, (Boudlal) has rejected all of our efforts and has since refused to come to work," Brown said.
The lawsuit seeks punitive damages and an order that states Disney may not prohibit employees from wearing hijabs. It also asks that Disney be ordered to provide anti-harassment training for employees about Muslim issues.
The case is Boudlal v. Disney.
Judges at the International Criminal Court have ruled that former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo is fit to stand trial for his alleged involvement in deadly post-election violence in his country.
Authorities in France have used state of emergency powers to place 24 activists under house arrest as France continues its ban on public demonstrations ahead of the scheduled climate talks.
A 24-year-old arms dealer is suspected of delivering weapons used in terrorist attacks in Paris
Suicide bomber attacks procession of Shia Muslims in northwestern part of Nigeria
Ambassadors of numerous countries, UN and African Union officials as well as Ethiopian government representatives attended flag-raising ceremony in Addis Ababa
Turkish Energy experts have said that Russian claims that Turkey was operating on an oil delivery to Turkey before it was downed, are ridiculuous
The Burkina Faso election is scheduled for this upcoming Sunday
Two suspects were taken into custody in connection with Mali hotel attack that killed 19 people
British PM pledges £1 million ($1.5 million, 1.4 million euros) a year over five years to establish and support a new Commonwealth counter-extremism unit
Russia has decided to suspend visa-free regime with Turkey starting from January 1, 2016
President Hollande vows to crush 'army of fanatics' with more 'songs, concerts and shows'
'At the moment, unfortunately, our partners are not ready to work within the format of single coalition,' Putin's spokesman says
The clashes took place between Rwandan rebels and a local Mai-Mai militia
Russian president says they will work with regional countries not to target 'moderate opposition' groups
French foreign minister suggests possible cooperation with Syrian regime forces against ISIL
Two presidents agreed to 'exchange information about which territories are occupied by the healthy part of the opposition rather than terrorists, and will avoid targeting them with our airstrikes'