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Muslim employee files complaint against Disneyland, seek to wear hijab at work


Photo by IIOC Masjid Omar AlFarouk/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Two women in hijab at a Southern California picnic, June 2008

Learning about the First Amendment as she went about applying for U.S. citizenship inspired a young Muslim woman who works at Disneyland to challenge a company policy and wear her hijab to work.

Today, Imane Boudial filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging she is not allowed to wear the traditional head scarf while on the job, according to 89.3 KPCC and other news reports. Boudial has worked at the Grand Californian Hotel's Storytellers Restaurant for more than two years. More from the KPCC story:

"As long as she's been there, she took off her hijab before she went to work because it's against Disney policy,'' said Leigh Shelton, a spokeswoman for Boudlal's union, Unite Here Local 11. "But more recently she's gone through some experiences that have enlightened her a little, and she wanted to challenge the policy because it's illegal and wrong.''

Several months ago, Boudlal, who is Arab, applied for U.S. citizenship, Shelton said, adding her lessons on the First Amendment changed the way she started thinking about the issue.

KTLA reported that Boudial, 26, is an immigrant from Morocco who became a U.S. citizen in June. From that story:
After being granted her citizenship, Boudial decided to challenge Disney's strict clothing rules. She says the U.S. Constitution grants everyone religious freedom and that right applies in this case.

"The Constitution tells me I can be Muslim, and I can wear the head scarf," Boudial says. "Who is Disney to tell me I cannot?"