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Disney Debate: Woman Sues The Magic Kingdom To Wear Headscarf While Working


Disneyland.  The magic kingdom.  It’s supposed to be the happiest place on Earth, but for one Disney employee that doesn’t seem to be the case.  Imane Boudlal wants to wear her Muslim headscarf at work.  However, protocol at the Magic Kingdom disagrees because it goes against policy.

Imane Boudlal says she was sent home without pay on multiple occasions for refusing to take off her headscarf, otherwise known as a hijab, while working as a hostess in a Disney-owned restaurant. Prompting Boudlal to bring Disney in front of the US Equal Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that handles claims of workplace discrimination.

It is widely known that Disneyland employees have a strict dress code policy, which coincides with specific costumes assigned to different jobs.  Disneyland spokesperson Suzi Brown explains:

It has to do with the costume, every role at Disneyland Resort has a specific costume.

She went onto add that many Disneyland employees behind the scenes continue to wear religious clothing and work behind the scenes.  However, Imane Boudal believes being forced to work behind the scenes due to their religious affiliation.

[Source: Breibart]

  • Larry

    When she applied for employment at Disney I am sure she had to sign a sworn statement document: stating that she would follow all dress codes and appearance requirements. If she does not want to follow Disney dress codes, then she should seek employment with someone who will allow her to wear her hijab. Disney has for 55 years had a dress code along with personal hygiene requirements. These are both stipulated when she signed her job acceptance.

    • Dawn

      I agree. They have a dress code and it is thankfully strictly enforced.

  • M Dexter

    Ms. Boudlal knew of Disney’s dress code when she was hired. She could work elsewhere if she NOW doesn’t agree with it.

  • Debbie

    Employees of Disneyland are considered On Stage when at work. If it isn’t part of the costume they shouldn’t be allowed to wear it. At least they gave the girl the option of working behind the scenes so she could wear her scarf

  • leo

    Disney did everything to accommodate this young lady.They are right,she is very wrong.Game over.

  • Janet Rountree

    What is this world coming too! Disneyland has always had a dress code, why should they change now! If she wants to wear her head scarf, then stay home. I don’t want to go to Disneyland to see someone in costume with a head scarf on, come on now either go by the dress code or find another Job!!!! God Bless America

    • Dawn

      I agree. Take the time off or find a job where you can wear the scarf.

  • Donna

    Wearing the hijab is part of her identity. It is not an accessory. Your analogy earlier, equating it with the UPS driver wearing green shorts and a white shirt was way off base. A more appropriate comparison would be if an observant male Jewish employee came to work wearing his yamulke. Would Disney require that person to remove it, or work out of sight of the public? It makes me think that perhaps Disney is trying to say it’s shameful to practice who they are.

    • Debbie

      Yes, Disney has the same requirements. Jews cannot wear yarmulkes in public view. The dress code is in place for a reason, it has been that way since the park opened. They have jobs offstage for employees like this girl who would like to wear their religious symbols. They are, in every aspect, an equal opportunity employer. They do however, expect each employee to play a “role”. If one does not fit the requirements of the role, they are not hired for it. Example: The character actors must fit certain physical elements, height, weight, gender, coloring. This girl is not in one of those roles, but she still must adhere to Disney’s uniform (costume) regulations that are set forth at the time of hire. Disney is not trying to take away her religious identity, only asking her to conform to their rules as they ask all employees to do. They are giving her the option of another job where she can have her identity. Disney is doing all they can for her and she is refusing.

  • rafael

    This person has worked there for over 2 years. It has not been until recently that the hijab has become an issue for her. News reports say that Disney was developing a costume for her to accommodate her needs. She felt that it was not done fast enough.
    This is just a ploy by this person to force her views upon the rest of society or it is a cynical ploy for a cash settlement. It is also suspiciously following close to the 9-11 mosque controversy.

  • Chris Butkiewicz

    Disneyland portrays a happy place for young and old. I know several people who are employed there. They signed a costume, dress code and it should be followed by everyone, no exceptions. If they gave her the choice to wear her headscarf behind the scene and she refused, she should not be given special treatment under no exceptions. If Disney does, then you open the door for many more problems, others wanting to wear their piercings in plane sight, but more you have visitors from all around the country, you may have someone visiting the park and sees these headscarf and the religion it represents and you could have and major confrontation.

  • Denise

    As long as Disneyland made their dress code clear upon hire, this shouldn’t even be an issue. But if they didn’t…they’ll have the ACLU after them.

    • Dawn

      I am positive there was something in place when she was hired. This should not go to court it is a waste of time and money. Disney is in the right.

  • Karen

    If it’s only for Ramadan, can’t she take vacation time? Seems she’d want to spend the time with her family instead of at work, anyway. For Disney to give in would be setting a bad precedent.

  • Debbie

    Disney’s dress code is spelled out to employees at the time of hire. No religious symbols are allowed by anyone, regardless of what religion it is. No crosses, no Star of Davids, no yarmulkes, no head scarves. Period! She agreed to this when she was hired. She defied the rules by wearing her scarf. This is not about discrimination, it is about a private sector company’s dress policy. Disneyland employees are called “cast members”…they are actors playing a character while they are “onstage”. Their personal lives are left at the door when they report to work. Cast Members are there to portray the image of Disneyland and no one else. They are not there to make a political statement. They are supposed to be neutral. Walt Disney wanted people to forget the outside world exists while they are at Disneyland. This has worked for 55 years. Allowing Cast Members to portray their individual beliefs would ruin this image. I’m all for religious freedom, for any religion, but if your employer has a dress code, that’s the end of the story. You don’t like it, don’t work there.

  • Dee Long

    If Miss Boudlal wants to dress as she pleases, she should stop taking a paycheck from Disney and open her own restaurant using her own funds. Then she can dress as she pleases, but also be the one responsible for the hassels and expensive lawsuits coming from employees who think she should pay them and they can act and dress as THEY please. Grow up, lady!! This is the business world and you agreed to Disney’s rules when you got hired. If you don’t like them, become an entrepreneur on your own dime!

  • Fran

    I was once denied a job at Disneyland because I was a woman. They claim that if you work at Disneyland you are playing a role, and the “role” I was auditioning for required a man. I auditioned to play in the dixie band that wanders around New Orleans Square.

  • liz

    She knew the rules when she was hired and now she’s trying to use an “excuse” to where her scarf. Follow the rules the way the rest of us do. If you don’t like it, get another job!

  • Lorelei McBroom

    I understand her hijab is not a fashion statement. It is a part of her religious doctrine. However she must adhere to the dress code of the company she works for or get another job. Disneyland has always been very hard core towards their employees regarding the image they project to the Disney patrons. She is not being discriminated against due to her religion. It has more to do with the image the company wants to uphold that is non-secular.

    • Dawn

      Well said, I agree.

  • John

    I’ll bet the dress code was fully explained when she was hired. If she didn’t agree with the code she didn’t have to take the job. Seems like everybody is looking for an easyway to make a buck, make waves sue and hope they pay you off.

  • Olga

    Almost every workplace has a dress code. We, as employees, should look into what they are and decide before if we want to work there. Everybody knows Disney’s dress code and I am sure that a contract was signed. Oh well, she worked there for 2 years and now she wants to wear part of her religious outfit? I don’t think so!!

  • Dawn

    This woman needs to follow the rules of the company or find another job. This country has taken “political correctness” way to far. It has to stop. Hooray for Disney and God bless America and our way of life.

  • May

    Okay i understand a dress code, everywhere you go there is going to be a dress code. and okay maybe she wasn’t wearing the headscarf in the beginning but later in life she decided to. It’s not a big deal its a headscarf your just covering your damn hair, there is nothing wrong with that, you can still be in dress code and wear it. She’s not doing anything wrong, and when people say oh but the cross necklace.. see the difference is woman in Islam have to do it some point in their lives. Some Muslims don’t wear it because they simple want to fit in, i mean most of the women who wear teens and adults they go through alot,i respect them, i honestly do. It goes to show that ya i wear the headscarf but its not going to stop me from doing what i want to do

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