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Ex-Disneyland employee sues company for religious discrimination

August 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A former Disneyland employee filed a federal lawsuit Monday alleging discrimination because of her religion. She claims she lost her job because she wanted to wear a religious headscarf.

Imane Boudlal, 28, says her time working at Disneyland was not pleasant. She claims that from the beginning she was harassed by co-workers because she is Muslim.

"I was called a camel, a terrorist, someone that speaks a terrorist language. I was a victim of discrimination at work," said Boudlal.

Boudlal says her managers never addressed that. After two years working as a restaurant hostess she decided she wanted to wear a hijab headscarf. She says Disneyland officials told her she could work in a position out of view of customers, or she could choose to wear a hat.

"They said you can't. So either the hats, you work in the back, or you go back home. And also I was offered a couple of other positions, but they were all, like, backstage," said Boudlal.

"Disney stopped scheduling her for work, and she was for all intents and purposes, fired for her religious beliefs," said ACLU attorney Mark Rosenbaum.

Disneyland has a dress code policy for employees, but Boudlal's attorneys claim that was routinely ignored.

Disneyland issued a statement Monday:

"Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has a history of accommodating religious requests from cast members of all faiths. We presented Ms. Boudlal with multiple options to accommodate her religious beliefs, as well as offered her several roles that would have allowed her to wear her own hijab. Unfortunately, she rejected all of our efforts and has since refused to come to work."

Boudlal's attorney says they want Disney to allow Muslim employees to wear hijabs. They claim Boudlal has also suffered emotional injuries and depression.

Disney is the parent company of ABC7.


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