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.
Lutfur Rahman, the Mayor of the London borough of Tower Hamlets, said “We are flying the Palestinian flag over the town hall as a humanitarian gesture of our solidarity with the people of Gaza.”
The quake had struck nine miles (14 km) southeast of Algiers and its epicentre was recorded at a relatively shallow depth of 6.2 miles
The poll research, published 47 days before the Sept. 18 vote showed that the independence movement has been largely stuck in the 42-44 percent support range
Russia is boosting its defence budget and aims to spend 21 trillion roubles ($586 billion) by the end of the decade to upgrade weapons and technology
Country's one-time largest rebel group and government begin new round of talks to settle key differences to push for passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law.
The move is the latest gesture by the country's reformist government towards abolishing the use of children in the armed forces.
Hoshiyar Zebari's comments are likely to further strain ties between Maliki's Shi'ite-led government and the Kurds, complicating efforts to form a power-sharing government
The number of confirmed deaths was 52, both officials said, after mud came crashing down on the village of Malin in India's western state of Maharashtra
Two Egyptians were killed on Thursday when Libyan guards opened fire to disperse them as they tried to leave.
Eight lawmakers have been killed since the establishment of Somalia's 275-member parliament in 2012.
King Abdullah criticised international inaction over Israel's offensive in Gaza, which he described as involving mass slaughter and "war crimes against humanity"
The Israeli military said that a Gaza ceasefire that went into effect earlier on Friday is now over and military operations were in progress on the ground just after tanks opened fire in the southern Gaza Strip killing 50
Roads had for days been too dangerous to use because of heavy fighting, frustrating efforts to recover all the victims' remains and push ahead with an investigation.
Thousands of displaced families remain in makeshift tents or substandard temporary shelter areas, but all-out reconstruction will begin soon after President Benigno Aquino approves the plan
Thousands flocked to beaches to celebrate Eid al-Fitr despite meteorological warnings.
Greek Cypriot officials met with Eni/KOGAS representatives to discuss and investigate areas of cooperation related to potential gas resources valorization, with priority to the onshore LNG option.