Disneyland’s Hijab-Wearing Employee:
The Case for Why Imane Boudlal Should be Fired
Claim: Qazi cited two areas where Disneyland failed: 1. They didn’t respond to her request for two months, and 2. The agreement was for a scarf (rather than a customized head piece in keeping with the costume). But, according the Qazi, the “real question is ‘What’s the big deal?’”
Qudosi: Really Qazi? This is your legal question – “What’s the big deal?” The big deal is that a scarf is not part of the authorized Disney costume and Boudlal’s failure to 1. Repeatedly fail to comply with costuming, 2. Failure to accept another assignment that would allow her to wear her scarf “off stage”, and 3. Failure to accept the customized head piece show a lack of good faith and failure to comply with fair and adequate alternatives provided by the employer.
Claim: Qazi at one point directly states that there’s a fear Boudlal’s hijab may “scare off white customers.”
Qudosi: This is an unproven claim. There’s nothing Disney has done that validates this claim. In fact, their effort to reasonably accommodate Boudlal shows an effort to respect both Boudlal’s newfound religious beliefs and Disney’s own policies.
Claim: Qazi’s states that Boudlal’s “simple white scarf doesn’t contradict them [Disney’s costuming rules]”
Qudosi: Disney has clear defined costume standards for each area of the park, and no where in Storyteller’s Café or elsewhere in the park would you find a hijab of any kind. Qazi is not in a position to dictate Disney’s costume, especially considering that Boudlal signed a contract that clearly outlined these terms and did comply with them for two years before her recent protest.
Again, Disney takes theatrics very seriously, to the level that all employees are even referred to as “cast members”, costumes are called “wardrobe”, and being on Disney premises in front of guests is called “on stage” – so there’s clearly a theme that needs Boudlal needs to comply with.
Claim: Qazi states that Boudlal specifically wants the scarf as opposed to costuming alternatives since the alternatives are “hiding her religious identity.”
Qudosi: Wearing a scarf isn’t about a claim to religious identity. Some Muslim women wear the scarf because they feel the faith requires it (which it does not). If you choose to wear a scarf, you do it to cover your hair in the interest of modesty. It doesn’t matter how you cover your hair, just that it’s covered. If Boudlal feels that the costume alternatives “hide her religious identity” then she has a personal identity issue, and not a discrimination issue.
Claim: Qazi claims Disney is in violation of the Title VII protection of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In fact, under 703(j), Disneyland is not required to grant Boudlal the special treatment of allowing her to wear her own non-costume hijab, because according to the Title VII, an employer is not required to “grant preferential treatment to any individual or to any group because of the race, color, religion, sex, or national origin of such individual or group on account of an imbalance which may exist…”
Under Title VII, Section 703 (g)(2), Disneyland is within it’s right to fire Boudlal. Section 703(g)(2) states: “…it shall not be unlawful employment practice…for an employer to discharge any individual from any position…if…such an individual has not fulfilled or has ceased to fulfill that requirement.”
Because Boudlal repeated broke Disney dress codes by refusing to accept their accommodations and wearing the hijab to work, she has failed to fulfill her contractual requirement. In my opinion, Disneyland would be within it’s legal rights to fire Boudlal – and I think they should.
See related article: Why Boudlal is Wrong
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Category: ORANGE COUNTY