- The woman was told that “it would be in the best interest of the business for her to change the colour of her hijab, due to the supposed terrorist affiliation with the colour black”
- Allegedly a colleague claimed that the predominantly non-Muslim and white community around the company’s office would “feel intimidated and scared if they saw the claimant”
- This case marks the first of its kind in the UK following a landmark ruling at the European Court of Justice in March
UK, June 27, 2017: A Muslim lady has lodged a religious discrimination complaint against her employers at a UK tribunal. Allegedly her employers had ordered her to remove her black hijab because it symbolised “terrorist affiliation”. The estate agent who intends to remain anonymous had been working for Harvey Dean in Bury, Greater Manchester, for about a year when she filed the allegation about her managers.
The Independent quoted a complaint filed at the Manchester Employment Tribunal as saying that the woman was told that It is meant by moving from a back office into public view “that it would be in the best interest of the business for her to change the colour of her hijab, due to the supposed terrorist affiliation with the colour black”.
Allegedly it was claimed by a colleague that the predominantly non-Muslim and white community around the company’s office would “feel intimidated and scared if they saw the claimant”.
The woman had been wearing a black hijab or headscarf that left her face uncovered since starting at Harvey Dean. She stated that she was not prepared to change her attire for the reasons that were pointed out to her. She added that she refused her employers’ orders again in a phone call and a meeting held the following day with the male manager. Allegedly, the manager had brought coloured hijabs into the office for her to change into as well.
The woman said that she was reprimanded hours later for sending a text message to her father. According to the comment filed with tribunal, “He then went on a tirade accusing the claimant of not working.” Also, the claimant informed him that she was on her lunch break but he told her that he did not care. Then he proceeded to tell her to: ‘Get the (expletive) out of here.’
After the incident, the woman left the office. Hearing nothing further from the company, she decided to submit a letter of resignation the following week.
She claimed that her objections to the order “fell on deaf ears” and she was left feeling unable to continue with the company. The former housing sales negotiator felt “singled out” as the only Muslim woman in the office. She feels that the discrimination she faced was a result of both her religion and gender.
The tribunal complaint highlights the fact that her treatment created an “intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating and offensive environment” at the work-space for the complainant, and intends to receive a written admission that she was subjected to unlawful discrimination.
According to IANS reports, the case will be considered at a preliminary hearing at the Manchester Employment Tribunal on July 20 and it could result in Harvey Dean paying “aggravated damages” and additional compensation covering loss of earnings, holiday pay and legal fees.
According to Zillur Rahman, an employment lawyer representing the claimant for Rahman Lowe Solicitors, this case marks the first of its kind in the UK following a landmark ruling at the European Court of Justice in March.
Judges found that companies could legally prohibit employees from wearing the Islamic headscarf, but only as part of prohibitions that encompass all religious and political symbols equally.
– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang