A Muslim former employee is suing the Walt Disney Company over her choice to wear a headscarf at her theme park job.
Moroccan-born Muslim Imane Boudlal, 26, says she faced harassment when she began wearing a hijab, and was ultimately fired.
This is not the first lawsuit the company has faced over that issue. In 2010, the Walt Disney company set a precedent by allowing a different female Muslim worker to wear a hijab as part of her work uniform.
David Barkey, an attorney for the Anti-Defamation League with expertise in religious accommodation issues, says it’s a good practice for companies to accommodate all workers. For example, Barkey suggests a corporate policy that would allow an Orthodox Jewish man to wear a skullcap — a kippah, in Hebrew — on the job.
“There are ways of coming up with an accommodation," Barkey said. "Perhaps it has to be a smaller kippah, or perhaps it has be a material that blends into the person’s hair that is not as noticeable for uniform requirements — but the employer is still making the effort to accommodate.”
But, he adds, those rights for reasonable religious accommodation depend on which state you live in, whether you are a public or private employee, and the size of your company.
California has one of the strictest labor laws for religious accommodation, and a bill up for a vote in the State Senate would make expand those standards.