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UK Employers Tell Muslim Woman to Remove ‘Terrorist Looking’ Black Hijab

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"

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  • 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.

Also readMuslim Women in India Can Become Change Agents With Education

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

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To Diversify The Industry, Apple Pledges To Train More Women

Industry critics have accused the technology companies of discriminating again women.

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Apple, women
A guest looks at the Touch Bar on a MacBook computer shown in a demo room following the announcement of new products at Apple headquarters, in Cupertino, California. VOA

Apple is launching a new program designed to address the technology industry’s scarcity of women in executive and computer programming jobs.

Under the initiative announced Monday, female entrepreneurs and programmers will attend two-week tutorial sessions at the company’s Cupertino, California, headquarters.

The camps will be held every three months beginning in January. For each round, Apple will accept up to 20 app makers founded or led by a woman. The app maker must have at least one female programmer in its ranks to qualify. Apple will cover travel expenses for up to three workers from each accepted company.

Apple, women
The Apple logo is shown outside the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California. VOA

Like other major tech companies, Apple has been trying to lessen its dependence on men in high-paying programming jobs. Women filled just 23 percent of Apple’s technology jobs in 2017, according to the company’s latest breakdown. That’s only a slight improvement from 20 percent in 2014, despite the company’s pledge to diversify its workforce.

The idea behind the new camp is to keep women interested and immersed in the field, said Esther Hare, Apple’s senior director of world developer marketing.

It’s not clear how much of a dent Apple’s new program will have. Google also offers training for girls and women pursuing careers in technology, but its program hasn’t done much to diversify the workforce so far. Women were hired for nearly 25 percent of Google’s technology jobs in 2017, up from nearly 21 percent in 2014, according to the company.

Apple, women
Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the new Apple iPhones and other products at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new products in Cupertino, California. VOA

Apple and other technology companies maintain that one of the main reasons so many men are on their payrolls is because women traditionally haven’t specialized in the mathematical and science curriculum needed to program.

Also Read: Apple in Court Battle Over App Store

But industry critics have accused the technology companies of discriminating again women through a male-dominated hierarchy that has ruled the industry for decades.

Apple isn’t saying how much it is spending on the initiative, though beyond travel expenses, the company will be relying on its current employees to lead the sessions. (VOA)