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Diversity/Religion In The Workplace

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Today, my friend told me the saddest story I ever heard. She had applied for a job and had been pining to get this gig for months. Finally a few months ago they contacted her for an interview. Culturally, she likes to wear a head wrap and has been doing so for as long as I have known her. Plus her boyfriend is Jewish and plans on marrying him and wants to get use to the idea of wearing it everyday. Well she decided that she would be herself and interview for the job as herself, tichel/head covering and all. The first interview went off without a hitch but she said she was asked if she was Muslim during the interview. I guess to explain her wearing the head covering. She replied no and left it at that. She was contacted for a second interview. Went well. Several months later she was hired. She attended orientation which lasted for several weeks. Than out of the blue, one of her supervisors called her to the side one day and asked her if she was Muslim, again she answered no, she even asked her if something was wrong with her hair, she replied no. The supervisor told her that she needed to come to work the next day with her hair out. She ignored that request and went to work as herself. The second day, she was requested to meet with one for her higher ranking superiors regarding her hair. Long story short, she was pretty much told that it was policy and she could not wear her hair covered to work. She explained that for weeks, she walked around with head covering and nobody said anything to her about it. She was told that if she pretty much did not show up without head covering she would lose her job, plus she was knew so they had no problem doing it. It made her very uncomfortable to the point of tears when she told me. She plans on quitting and looking for a new job. This is the world we live in. My heart is broken for her and she is still crying.

Unfortunately like you said this is the world we live in. It also makes me sad to think that people are singled out solely based on dress, religion, skin color, sexuality, And the list goes on. If your friend wears this as part of her identity within the Jewish community and religion then she may have some sort of discrimination case on her hands. I'm nowhere near a lawyer and can't give any sound legal advice but this could definitely be brought up with a lawyer. Also I urge you to urge your friend to find a new job sooner rather than later. One that is inclusive for everyone regardless and where she is comfortable and welcome headwrap and all. Hugs to your friend and good luck to her!

Zyprexa

Has 2 years experience.

I'm pretty sure it is illegal to ask about someone's religion during an interview, or to discriminate based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation (etc). Not saying this doesn't happen, but I think it's illegal.

:cautious:

P.S. I don't think this one story is representative of the world we live in (at least not in the U.S.). Your friend needs to get a lawyer if this story is true.

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

I wonder if they were asking her to see if she qualified for an exemption from the dress code? ...doesn't make much sense that they'd hire her when she interviewed with it, then discriminate against her for being "Muslim". Has she told anyone that it's a religious covering? I'm not sure she could claim religious discrimination if she hasn't ....I acknowledge that I'm no lawyer, though.

Your friend messed up. They asked her if she was Muslim because that is who normally wears head wraps. That wanted to find out if it was for a religious reason. Had she stated the reason for wearing it being a different religion, it would have probably have been dropped. But she didn't. And to be honest, she isn't officially the religion that is requiring it if I'm reading correctly. She wanting to get used to it because she may marry this guy someday. I'm guessing he's not the normal type of Jewish, maybe one of the much more conservative sects? None of my Jewish friends wear head wraps.

Places of business have dress codes, it's that simple. It's not discrimination for them to ask your friend to remove it, when she refuses to give them the reason she is wearing it. Otherwise we have people wearing all kinds of hats to work.

Your friend was wrong for not disclosing. I'm sorry she's in tears, but she is not being discriminated against. Asking her if she was Muslim was a legitimate question. It was not anything against the religion, it was simply to determine whether or not the head covering was being worn for that reason which is legal.

Don't think she messed up.

Asking religious affiliation during an interview is illegal!!!!

Emergent, RN

Has 27 years experience.

It sounds like HR messed up. They should have directly addressed the subject, as in "I see you have a head covering. This is against our dress code, except for religious and some other exemptions. What is your reason for wearing yours?"

I think there's blame to share. Your friend was being deliberately evasive by not answering the obvious question they were asking even if it was badly worded. If she covers her head for a religious reason then she needed to tell them that and that would have ended the conversation. Wearing a covering because she "might" marry a conservative/orthodox Jew in the future and she wants to get used to the idea is not a legitimate reason to violate her employers dress code nor is wearing one for "cultural" reasons of which I know of no social group in the US that requires this outside of religious reasons (although I freely admit I could be wrong). I believe she didn't answer because she knows this. Then she deliberately disobeyed a direct order from a supervisor without offering any explanation. On the other hand HR should have handled this way better than they did and they certainly shoulder some of the blame. However, if she isn't covering her head for religious reasons then it isn't a cover it's a hat. Nobody else is allowed to wear them and it certainly isn't worth crying over.

Don't think she messed up.

Asking religious affiliation during an interview is illegal!!!!

They hired her though. It would be illegal and wrong if they asked and then she didn't get hired. She was hired though. You and possibly your friend, are trying to make this a discrimination issue when it's not. It's a dress code violation because your friend refuses to divulge why she wears the head wrap.

You stated earlier in your post that she has always liked to do this. I personally don't feel it's a religious issue for your friend, she just likes to wear them. Which is great, outside the workplace. Not when there is a dress code in place. Which is why I think, she has not said anything and just responded no. This is not a religious issue, IMO, but you alluded to a Jewish boyfriend that she may marry, so I can't be sure.

If she doesn't like it, then she does indeed need to quit. I can't wear colored tops under my scrubs. I'd like to, but it's against our dress code. If I want my job, I wear the what we are told to.

If this is truly about a religious situation, she simply either tells them and is allowed or quits. Her choice.

But yes, she screwed up.

There is something very odd about this story, we are missing some details that I think may be important.

Somewhere along the way communication for both parties broke down and feelings were hurt.

There is something very odd about this story, we are missing some details that I think may be important.

Somewhere along the way communication for both parties broke down and feelings were hurt.

They broke down primarily because the OP's friend chose to be evasive, chose to flaunt the rules everybody else has to abide by and now hearts are breaking...over a hat.:sniff:

BSN16

Specializes in ICU, trauma.

Almost all facilities have dress codes that employees must abide by, of course there are religious exceptions that would allow for one to have certain exceptions made for them.

It sounds like your friend didn't make any sort of effort to help administration either understand or accept why she was wearing the headscarf. Being short with administration, giving no explanation as to why they should make an exception, and then being insubordinate the next day by still wearing the headscarf sounds like grounds for termination.

of course you don't have to disclose your religious affiliation to an employer, but if you want special exemptions to be made for you, you DO.

Here's a non-religious example. In college animals were NOT allowed in dorms, unless they were therapy animals. So if someone chose to get an animal without telling our dean it would be against the rules. They would probably be given an ultimatum like "get rid of the animal unless its a therapy animal". If they failed to elaborate that it was for therapy we would just assume they were doing it because they wanted...get what i'm saying?

And since I'm feeling salty today. This is the "saddest story" you have ever heard? May I suggest you google "Syria+children" for a little perspective?

Emergent, RN

Has 27 years experience.

And since I'm feeling salty today. This is the "saddest story" you have ever heard? May I suggest you google "Syria+children" for a little perspective?

LOL, yeah , the "this is the world we live in" got me too... :rolleyes:

Zyprexa

Has 2 years experience.

And since I'm feeling salty today. This is the "saddest story" you have ever heard? May I suggest you google "Syria+children" for a little perspective?

Does the OP even watch the news and/or live in the world if this is the "saddest story" she's ever heard?

Zyprexa

Has 2 years experience.

LOL, yeah , the "this is the world we live in" got me too... :rolleyes:

I almost expected her to follow that up with "This is Trump's America now!" and post pictures of the Swastikas that were painted on her friend's garage.

:yawn:

Emergent, RN

Has 27 years experience.

I almost expected her to follow that up with "This is Trump's America now!" and post pictures of the Swastikas that were painted on her friend's garage.

:yawn:

And put on Facebook saying "99% of you will just scroll through, like and share if you care about diversity!"

I almost expected her to follow that up with "This is Trump's America now!" and post pictures of the Swastikas that were painted on her friend's garage.

:yawn:

Oh my god.. hahahahahahahahaha

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