Disney has defended itself after a former employee filed a federal lawsuit against the company claiming harassment and discrimination.
The American Civil Liberties Union claims Imane Boudlal, 28, was subjected to anti-Muslim and anti-Arab insults, such as 'terrorist' and 'camel', while working as a hostess at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.
In 2010, two years after taking the job, Boudlal, a Muslim US citizen who was born in Morroco, asked to wear the hijab, or Muslim head scarf, while at work.
She said she was suspended after refusing to take off her head scarf, although Disney says it offered her alternative jobs out of the public eye and the option to wear her hijab with a "large hat" over the top.
In 2010, Boudlal filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Her case is still pending.
Earlier this month, the Commission gave her a "notice of right-to-sue", which allowed her to start litigation this week.
Issuing a statement in response, a spokeswoman for Disney said: "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."
The lawsuit seeks damages for Boudlal and harassment and discrimination training for Disney staff.
It is also asking the court to order that Disney allows Muslim employees to wear hijabs in public roles, without a hat or cover on top.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012