A Chipotle in Lenexa, Kansas fired an assistant manager after an employee accused the manager of trying to forcefully remove his hijab.
The employee, a 19-year-old Muslim woman, lodged a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last week. The young woman said that the deputy director of the place where she worked had started asking to see her hair from July 2021.
“We have a zero tolerance policy for any form of discrimination and we fired the employee in question almost two weeks ago following a thorough investigation,” said Laurie Schalow, director of corporate affairs, in a statement to the Star.
The woman wrote in a complaint filed on August 23 that “I informed him that I was wearing a hijab for religious reasons and could not take it off.”
The deputy manager, however, continued to ask to see her hair, according to the complaint. He also made similar comments to the cousin of the employee who worked at the same location.
“I would say no to him and I would leave,” she wrote.
On August 9, after the store closed, she was cleaning when the assistant manager “walked up behind me and pulled hard on my hijab.” Her hijab was tied with pins and didn’t come off until halfway. Her hair was a bit exposed, according to the complaint. The assistant manager then asked the employee’s cousin if he could see her hair.
“I was shocked, humiliated and scared,” she wrote while saying the deputy director continued to laugh.
The hijab is a religious head covering worn in public by some Muslim women around the world for a variety of reasons, but traditionally as part of their religion and as a way of showing modesty.
The employee reported the incident to two managers, but gave her two weeks’ notice the next day. A week later, the site manager texted her and asked if she wanted to be transferred to another location so that she did not lose her job.
“I was not the one who should be forced to move to another location,” she wrote.
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