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Muslim scarf ban costs $50K for Philadelphia security firm

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

Philadelphia-based Imperial Security will pay $50,000 to settle EEOC charges it discriminated against a woman and fired her because of her religious attire.

When Julie Holloway-Russell, a de­­vout Muslim, applied to become a part-time security guard at the Phila­­delphia Convention Center, she wore a khimar to her job interview. A khimar is a kind of scarf that some Muslim women wear to cover their hair, ears and neck. Imperial Security hired her.

She wore the khimar to work on her first day, but was told to remove it because it violated the company dress code. She explained that her religious beliefs required her to wear it and refused to take it off. The company terminated her.

Holloway-Russell filed a religious discrimination complaint with the EEOC.

In addition to the $50,000 settlement, Imperial Security agreed to hire an equal employment opportunity officer to receive discrimination and retaliation complaints. The company will also change its policies to allow for religious accommodation and provide annual anti-discrimination training to all employees.

Note: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act requires employers to accommodate employees’ religious beliefs as long as doing so does not cause an undue hardship. Employers that fire first without ex­­ploring religious accommodations are automatically in violation of the law.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachael Focht March 20, 2012 at 12:24 am

She has to work at something, Muslims are not supposed to be idle or lazy, lol……

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MommyofFour March 19, 2012 at 12:21 am

That’s great that the company was made to be more accomodating but I don’t know how I feel about these ridiculous payouts, do you really think she deserves $50k for being wrongfully terminated? All in all it was an expensive lesson to learn I hope more companies realize how wrong it is to discriminate against pple because they choose to dress modestly!

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Texasmuslimcupcake March 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Hahaha!! Now she don’t have to work!! You go girl take some of that money and pay Zakat for the blessing Allah)swt) has given you!!.

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Rachael Focht March 18, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Miro, you are incorrect. Khimar is not a face veil. The niqab is the face veil. Khimar is a word which means head covering from head to the chest area or longer. Khimars are usually longer than the headscarf, either to the elbow, waist, or floor length. Please do not confuse people with those terms.

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Miro March 18, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Khimar is not a scarf to cover the head, neck and face, it is a face veil. So instead of using Arabic words incorrectly, you can just say head scarf and everyone will know what that means.

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Rachael Focht March 18, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Khimar refers exclusively to the headscarf when it is worn to cover the hair, ears and neck, as correctly stated in the article. Khimar is actually the word used in the Qur’an, and in that text is referring to covering the hair. The ‘niqab’ usually refers to the veil that covers the face, leaving the eyes visible. There are some “combination” items of clothing, that cover both the hair and the face, such as the burqa. These terms and styles that they refer to can vary all across the Muslim world. I agree that descriptive words such as ‘headscarf’ should have ben used in this article so that it’s clear for those who aren’t familiar with the Arabic terms.

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