A Nigerian Muslim woman was sent home from her job in Fort Worth, Dallas, for wearing hijab to work on Monday.
Folake Adebola said she converted to Islam in August but started working at the Chicken Express restaurant in October. She’s been at the restaurant for about three months.
Although Monday was the first time she wore the hijab to work, Adebola said she told her employer she was a Muslim before she was employed.
“The job requires a specific uniform. That is not part of the specific uniform,” Adebola’s boss was seen telling her in a short clip she posted to her Twitter page.
“You as a paid employee cannot wear it.”
Adebola, a 22-year-old single mum whom CNN identified also as Stefane Coleman, said she felt “disrespected” and “upset” about the encounter.
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!! pic.twitter.com/xiulAEJS8y
— Folake Adebola (@naemuulaa) December 30, 2019
“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 told CNN.
“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.”
Rhett Warren, a lawyer for the operator of the Chicken Express restaurant, said the manager who fired Adebola was wrong.
“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.”
Warren said Adebola was paid for the hours she would have worked on Monday. She returned to work on Tuesday after the restaurant owner apologised for the manager’s behaviour.