A Nigerian woman named Folake Adebola, who worked in the United States of America, US, was recently sent home from work for putting on the hijab, a dress worn by Muslim women.
Adebola, popularly known as Stefanae Coleman, went to Chicken Express, her workplace, in Texas, donning her hijab when the company’s manager asked her to remove it for violating the organisation’s “dress code.”
Coleman explained that she got converted to Muslim in August and notified the company of her faith and plans to wear hijab, before she resumed work in October.
“Lemme say this I converted in August. I didn’t start working there till October in the hand book they say they have “equal opportunity for every religion “ so yes I felt comfortable working there.
” I told my manager that I am Muslim and that I was waiting on my hijabs to come in,” she wrote on Twitter.
According to her, things however, took dramatic turns when she eventually started wearing hijab.
In two different videos shared on her social media page, the 22-year-old single mother explained how she was sent home from work.
“I converted to Islam not too long ago and I started wearing my hijab, I went to work today and was kicked out because my hijab was not apart the “dress code” apparently and I wasn’t allowed to wear it. Don’t come to the chicken express in Fort Worth!!,” she said in one of the videos.
In the video, the manager of the company was seen addressing in a stern voice, citing the Chicken Express employee handbook.
“Your job is your job. Your job has nothing to do with religion. The job requires a specific uniform. (The hijab) is not a part of the uniform; you as a paid employee cannot wear it,” he said.
While Chicken Express refused to issue any official statement with respect to the incident, Coleman further narrated her experience to CNN.
“Once I clocked in, the manager said ‘Take off anything that doesn’t involve Chicken Express,’ which I knew he was talking about my hijab,” she said.
“So I didn’t react, I just went to the back and took off my jacket and my purse. Five minutes later, he called me into the office telling me that I have to take it off because it’s not a part of the work uniform.”
The manager was said to have declined comment on the incident but Rhett Warren, an attorney representing the Chicken Express franchisee that operates the location where Coleman is employed condemned the manager’s action describing it as a mistake.
He was further quoted as saying Coleman “is not facing discrimination for her decision to wear a headscarf or for being Muslim.”
“The manager’s decision to send Ms. Coleman home for wearing the headscarf was due to a lack of training,” Warren said.
“The manager was using a strict interpretation of the company policy that does not allow derivations from the standard employee uniform, and he unfortunately did not take religious liberty into consideration.”