People can say what they want, but religious discrimination is at an all-time high.
Just asked Stefanae Coleman, a 22-year-old Texas woman who was sent home from her job at a local Chicken Express for refusing to remove her hijab, a sacred head covering for Islamic women. According to CNN, Coleman’s manager asked her to take it off during her shift.
Rude? That is not even the half.
Her manager told her after she clocked in, “Take off anything that doesn’t involve Chicken Express,”
Coleman shocked them by arriving at her job with the traditional headscarf. She had recently converted to Islam and as a Muslim, expected her rights to be respected. Her manager further explained the dress code requirements. However, by law, she is entitled to certain civic freedoms.
“So I didn’t react, I just went to the back and took off my jacket and my purse.” She told CNN. “Five minutes later, he called me into the office telling me that I have to take it off because it’s not a part of the work uniform.”
Coleman captured the exchange on video and posted it on social media.
“Your job is your job. Your job has nothing to do with religion,” the manager can be heard in the video saying to her. “The job requires a specific uniform. [The hijab] is not a part of the uniform; you as a paid employee cannot wear it.”
The manager ultimately decides to speak with his colleagues regarding Coleman’s religious garb. Still, he sends her home.
But what are her rights?
According to the ACLU, “The First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution bar federal and state governments from making laws or rules that specifically prohibit women from practicing hijab. In some circumstances, however, the Constitution allows neutral rules that apply to everyone, such as a rule barring all head coverings, whether religious or not.”
“The Fourteenth Amendment and numerous federal civil rights laws bar federal and state officials and some private actors from discriminating against women who practice hijab.”
The organization further states that “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) provides additional protection at the federal level by barring the federal government and its officials from restricting women’s ability to practice hijab (either specifically or through generally applicable rules), unless the government can demonstrate that its action was the ‘least restrictive means’ for achieving a ‘compelling governmental interest.’ Although RFRA does not apply to state governments, many states have adopted their own ‘mini-RFRAs’ or interpreted their state constitutions to provide the same heightened protections.”
“The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) bars government officials from restricting women’s ability to practice hijab when they are confined to any institution that receives federal funding (such as state prisons) unless the government can demonstrate that its action was the ‘least restrictive means’ for achieving a ‘compelling governmental interest.’”
Another fact that might be of importance to Coleman is that “one federal civil rights law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits an employer from firing, refusing to hire, or disciplining a woman because of religious practices like hijab unless the employer can show that it offered a “reasonabl[e] accommodat[ion]” or that it could not offer such an accommodation without incurring an “undue hardship.” The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) specifically states that refusing to hire someone because of a concern that customers or co-workers may be “uncomfortable” with hijab is illegal. Many states and municipalities have additional laws protecting employees from discrimination, threats, and harassment.”
In the highest court in the nation, the Supreme Court has affirmed not too long ago that people applying for jobs have the right to ask for religious accommodation! So technically, they had to accept her as she is in her garb.
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