Jewish Journal


August 28, 2010

The Disneyland hijab mess


Stop me if you’ve heard this one:

A woman who accused the Disney Co. of discrimination for refusing to let her wear a Muslim head scarf at work says she won’t wear a specially designed hat instead.

Imane Boudlal, who’s a restaurant hostess at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, says Disney’s suggested hat-and-bonnet is embarrassing and makes a joke of her religion.

She has gone home without pay seven times rather than remove her hijab or accept jobs away from customers.

That’s from the Associated Press. As a 2L whose legal writing sample concerns reasonable accommodation of an employee’s religious belief, I a) am an expert in this field; and b) have to agree with the Disney spokesperson (not my wife) that this Micky Mouse organization is right in the eyes of the law.

In this case, Disney only needs to show that it either provided a reasonable accommodation or that doing so would impose undue hardship on the company or its employees. If a specially designed hat that covers the claimant’s head in the same way that a hijab would, then Disney would not need to demonstrate undue hardship.

It’s difficult to be certain without seeing the special hat, but the point of the hijab is to show modesty and piety, and I suspect the hat and bonnet would do the trick. Even if it does look a little Goofy.

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