Former Disney worker expected to sue over head scarf dispute
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    Former Disney worker expected to sue over head scarf dispute



    A former Disney employee is expected to announce Monday a federal lawsuit against the entertainment giant, saying she was harassed and unfairly removed from her hostess job after refusing to remove her head scarf while at work.

    Imane Boudlal, who is Muslim, said she had worked at Storyteller's Cafe in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in Anaheim for two years when she began wearing her hijab to work in August 2010. Boudlal said she was told wearing her scarf was a violation of company policy, and she would either have to remove it, cover it with a hat or take a job working out of public sight.

    Boudlal, now 28, refused. She has not worked at Disney since Aug. 21, 2010, said Mark Rosenbaum, an attorney from the ACLU of Southern California who is representing Boudlal.

    She filed a complaint with theU.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionin 2010 and received a "notice of right-to-sue" from the agency Aug. 8, opening the door for litigation. She is expected to reveal her legal plans Monday morning with her attorneys at the ACLU's Los Angeles office.

    Boudlal's attorneys also said their Moroccan-born client was repeatedly harassed by her co-workers from the beginning of her employment, receiving insults such as "terrorist," "camel" and "Kunta Kinte," the name of a slave in Alex Haley's 1976 novel, "Roots." Boudlal reported the incidents to her managers orally and in writing, Rosenbaum said, with no results.

    "Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has a long history of accommodating a variety of religious requests from cast members of all faiths," said Suzi Brown, a Disney spokeswoman. "However, because we have not seen the lawsuit, we cannot comment specifically about this situation at this time."

    Shortly after Boudlal's dispute with the company went public in 2010, another Muslim woman said she was also told she would have to work out of sight if she chose to wear a hijab to work. Disney officials said they were able to reach a compromise with Noor Abdallah, then a 22-year-old intern from Chicago, and allowed her to wear a fitted blue scarf topped by a beret-style hat.

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    So she worked with out the head scarf for two years and then decided she had to wear it? Smells to me like some one had a bright idea to sue.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Freshee61
    So she worked with out the head scarf for two years and then decided she had to wear it? Smells to me like some one had a bright idea to sue.
    I'm gonna agree with you. I think they have worked something out like they did in the previous situation but sounds like she didn't want that.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Freshee61
    So she worked with out the head scarf for two years and then decided she had to wear it? Smells to me like some one had a bright idea to sue.
    Tell me about it. Disney has a certain look they expect from their employees. It is against Disney look to wear something other than your costume. No earrings lathers than a quarter, no unnatural hair. Socks must be the same color as your shoe (white or black depending on your location and job description). If you can't adhere to these simple rules why even accept a job with the company?! I worked there for a year and a half (CP) and while I would have loved to put pink highlights in my hair I didn't bc it's against policy. I don't understand why you would suddenly do something drastic and expect everything to be hunky-dorey?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freshee61
    So she worked with out the head scarf for two years and then decided she had to wear it? Smells to me like some one had a bright idea to sue.
    Exactly what I was thinking. Plus muslim women are not forced to wear hijabs but is by choice. Don't see why she just didn't agree to wear a beret on top of her hijab like the other lady

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    Quote Originally Posted by lionkingfanno1

    Exactly what I was thinking. Plus muslim women are not forced to wear hijabs but is by choice. Don't see why she just didn't agree to wear a beret on top of her hijab like the other lady

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    Because she wanted a reason to sue.

    Disney tells you up front about their "look" and have a choice right there to walk out and not go any further in the employment process. She worked there long enough to know that.



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    I understand her maybe deciding to do something different with her religion and I don't judge her for that, but if she really wanted to wear it for religious purposes she would have agreed to the beret.


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    Re: Former Disney worker expected to sue over head scarf dispute

    And this is why Disney has one of the bigger legal departments out there. This is such a waste of time legally it's unreal.


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    Re: Former Disney worker expected to sue over head scarf dispute

    There are years of precedent regarding uniform standards and policy, however this is going to be messier then a civil suit. Since there is alleged discrimination, the EEOC will get involved as well. Even if Disney wins the case, it's going to cost them tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    I bet they just settle with the girl to get her to go away before it ever goes to court.


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    Re: Former Disney worker expected to sue over head scarf dispute

    I definitely agree that she should have been aware of the dress policy and standards and knew ahead of time what was expected of her as an employee. But on the other hand if true I do not agree with the racial insults that were allegedly said, that is when Disney should have did something to resolve the situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffsPrincess View Post
    I understand her maybe deciding to do something different with her religion and I don't judge her for that, but if she really wanted to wear it for religious purposes she would have agreed to the beret.
    I agree ,if she was given an option she should have did it.


    Last edited by disneymama2000; 08-18-2012 at 12:50 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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    Re: Former Disney worker expected to sue over head scarf dispute

    This makes me furious!! Seriously, WDW is supposed to be the happiest place on earth...if you aren't happy...find another job! SHe knew darn well what the dress code was and took the job anyway. I'm sure Disney knows what they are up against; someone who just wants attention and money..makes me sick! Disney has better things to do than waste their time on this lady.


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    Re: Former Disney worker expected to sue over head scarf dispute

    Quote Originally Posted by 3BluEyedBabies View Post
    This makes me furious!! Seriously, WDW is supposed to be the happiest place on earth...if you aren't happy...find another job! SHe knew darn well what the dress code was and took the job anyway. I'm sure Disney knows what they are up against; someone who just wants attention and money..makes me sick! Disney has better things to do than waste their time on this lady.
    Meh, it's a cost of doing business. I could get into an employment law discussion, but the long and short of it is that sometimes people get upset, and most of the time they get some leech lawyer who makes just enough of a case to be an annoyance, and at worst EEOC gets involved. It all generally ends up being settled out of court. This sort of thing goes on all the time, and most people don't even know.

    The only reason this made news is because several Islamic Rights organizations have decided to use her as a poster child, and she's getting personal funding and pro-bono work through them (paid for through donors).

    As far as I'm concerned, I could care less if someone wears it or not. I do understand constuming, and Disney could have relegated her to venues that allowed for it (like Small World, or EPCOT's world pavilion). That being said, there are years of precedent regarding costuming vs EEOC, and Disney knows how to walk this line better than any legal department out there, I suspect.

    Hooters has been sued over and over again about it's "uniforms", and they win every time.

    It has to do with consistency and expectations set at the time of employment, and as terrible as this sounds, the fact that Disney made concessions for one employee (the beret) actually doesn't help the case.

    Anyhow, we'll see how it plays out.


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    Re: Former Disney worker expected to sue over head scarf dispute

    The "dress-code" problem is one thing and it sounds like she was offered a compromise on that if she was willing to wear a hat on top of the scarf (hijab). What should have been taken seriously and dealt with swiftly was the apparent racial remarks aimed at her when she began wearing her head scarf. If true, that IS discrimination and should never be overlooked by ANY employer, especially DISNEY. Was that investigated? Did the co-workers who made those remarks receive any disipline? Any penalty?? Did Disney find any proof?
    Again, this does "stink" of someone itching to sue and get big $$ from Disney.....but if the racial remarks did happen, something should have been done (or was something done.....but not to her satisfaction?) Did she start wearing the "hijab" only to try to get a reason to sue for big $$? If she truly wore it for "religious" reasons, then she is owed a "safe" work enviroment and her claims or racial taunts should have been investigated (or were they??) and appropiate action should have been taken by Disney. (or was it taken??)


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    Re: Former Disney worker expected to sue over head scarf dispute

    Quote Originally Posted by Freshee61 View Post
    So she worked with out the head scarf for two years and then decided she had to wear it? Smells to me like some one had a bright idea to sue.
    Freshee61 and 3blueyedbabies, you took the words right out of my mouth! Sorry if I offend people but it's true!


    Last edited by Tinker Britt; 08-19-2012 at 10:49 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by englanddg
    There are years of precedent regarding uniform standards and policy, however this is going to be messier then a civil suit. Since there is alleged discrimination, the EEOC will get involved as well. Even if Disney wins the case, it's going to cost them tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    I bet they just settle with the girl to get her to go away before it ever goes to court.
    This is why the legal system is in such a mess, no common sense at all. Where there's blames there's a claim philosophy.

    Quote Originally Posted by englanddg

    Hooters has been sued over and over again about it's "uniforms", and they win every time.
    At last........ Some good news! Now if only WDW would incorporate that uniform in one of the parks! Only joking, ha ha.


    Last edited by Mike0510; 08-20-2012 at 03:25 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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