California: Muslim woman told she can’t wear head scarf to work

A woman in El Dorado Hills said she was given the okay to wear a hijab, a scarf worn by Muslim women that covered their head and chest, to work. But the very next day, Rosemary Hassan was told to take it off.

“Because of my religious beliefs, I have to wear the head scarf,” Rosemary Hassan said.

Hassan started wearing her hijab to work at the Safeway fueling station in El Dorado Hills last week after asking for permission. “The manager on duty said it was fine, go right ahead,” Hassan said.

The next day Hassan was called into the assistant manager’s office and was told something different. “She looked at me and said, ‘Oh, you’re wearing it?’ I said, ‘yes, is there a problem?’ And she said, ‘yeah, you can’t wear it,'” Hassan explained.

Hassan was told to fill out a form and get approval before wearing hijab to work. But the form appeared to be one for people who needed accommodation due to a medical condition, Hassan said.

“When I read it, it did not say anything about the headscarf,” Hassan explained. “It said something about if I had a disability.” She refused to fill out the form. Hassan was then told she couldn’t work as long as she was wearing hijab.

“I feel that I’m being forced out that this is a way they wanted me to quit,” Hassan said. And that’s what she ended up doing, she quit. “I felt my beliefs are more strong than a job, even though it was a really good job,” Hassan said.

But now, Safeway said it was all a misunderstanding. The company does have a dress code, but said, “the company does adjust these standards where needed to accommodate religious needs of employees.” Safeway said she can have her job back and wear hijab.

Hassan said she’d like to put this all behind her and return to work, as long as she’s able to wear her hijab.

News10/KXTV, 26 November 2013