Working woman discriminated for wearing hijab
[representational image]Creative commons

A Muslim woman, who was working as an estate agent with Harvey Dean in Bury for almost a year, said the managers had issues with the colour of her Hijab.

The managers said "that it would be in the best interest of the business for her to change the colour of her hijab, due to the supposed terrorist affiliation with the colour black", according to her complaint.

Her colleague allegedly said the white and non-Muslim community around company's office would feel "intimidated and scared" at her sight. However, the woman refused to change her attire. 

Later, the manager reprimanded her for sending a text message to her father and went on to accuse her of 'not working'. When she said she was on her lunch break, he said he did not care and asked her to leave.

Working woman wearing Hijab
[representative image]Creative commons

The woman left and sent out a resignation letter the next week. She felt "singled out" as the only Muslim woman in the office and said the company discriminated against her on the basis of her religion and gender.

The preliminary hearing of the case is scheduled for July 20 at Manchester Employment Tribunal. It is said that Harvey Dean will have to pay "aggravated damages" and compensation.

But she said the compensation is of "secondary importance" to her.

What is of primary importance to me over and above anything is that this serves as a warning to employers that such pressure upon employees is absolutely and categorically unacceptable based upon illogical ideas with no evidence.

Young Muslim women, whether they attend schools, colleges or work in professional environments, should never have to feel that they have to compromise their religious beliefs or water down their Muslim identity for fear of intimidating people of other or no faith.

A report quoted Zullur Rahman, an employment lawyer, saying the case was one of a kind. Judges said the companies could ban employees from wearing an Islamic headscarf, given the firms abide by the prohibitions encompassing all religious and political symbols in the same measure.

The court ruling said such a ban was not in place at Harvey Dean and also noted that Muslim male employees were allowed to sport beards and the company's staff handbook stated it "does not seek to inhibit individual choice as regards appearance".

The company remained unavailable for comments.