Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Disneyland allows park worker to wear religious scarf at work [Updated]

VACATION_PLANNER_full_final1 Disneyland has agreed to allow a company intern to wear her religious headscarf at work, according to a Muslim rights group that intervened after the woman was told she would have to work in the stockroom.

The Chicago woman was hired as a vacation planner after a phone interview. When she arrived in California for her internship orientation, she was asked by Disney representatives why she had not mentioned her hijab, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The woman was told she would have to take a position with less guest interaction, working in the stockroom until a "customized uniform" could be made, according to the group.

She was told that making the customized uniform would take about five months, approximately the length of her entire internship, according to CAIR.

The group intervened, and after a week Disney agreed to accommodate the woman in her original position as a vacation planner, it said.

Disney representatives could not be reached for comment Monday morning. CAIR is urging the company to implement a corporate-wide policy that protects its employees' right to wear religious attire.

[Updated at 11:13 a.m.: Suzi Brown, a spokeswoman for Disneyland Resort, said the employee would be allowed to wear a fitted blue head scarf with a beret-style hat worn over it.

Vacation planners are costumed employees, whose outfits include an optional baseball-style cap. Unlike other employees, the worker in question will not have the option to take off her hat while wearing her head scarf, Brown said. Vacation planners sell tickets in a box office.

"Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has a long history of accommodating a variety of religious requests from cast members of all faiths with more than 200 accommodations made over the last three years," Brown said. “And this instance was no different."]

The organization has received other complaints over the years from Muslim women who said they have been denied "front-stage jobs" with Disney because of their hijabs.

A Muslim woman who works as a hostess at a Disney-owned restaurant filed a discrimination complaint earlier this year, saying she has repeatedly been sent home without pay for refusing to remove her headscarf at work.

Imane Boudlal, a hostess at Storyteller's Cafe in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, said she was told she would have to remove her hijab or take a job working out of public view.

That case is ongoing, according to CAIR.

[Updated at 7:32 p.m. Disney officials said they in the process of accomodating the intern's religious requirement and had already come up with a design when CAIR became involved in the case.]

-- Robert Faturechi

Illustration: Rendering of costume accommodation for Disney worker. Credit: Disneyland Resort

Comments () | Archives (78)

There's a surprise. More bending over for Islam.

Completely disappointed in Disney and I will no longer frequent any of their parks.

Oh good grief - that's my old department. She's lucky she's a Vacation Planner and not a Ticket Taker, because those costumes don't breathe at all, and I can imagine just how hot and uncomfortable it will be with the scarf under a cap if she's not in air conditioning. I just about passed out wearing the provided sunhat with that thing, despite the fact that it had ventilation grommets in the crown. It's fair. They're not really modifying the costume - she just gets a matching scarf plus the standard issue baseball cap. Yeah, maybe she should have pointed out that she wears hijab, but they didn't interview her in person did they? Did they give her the standard preview of the Disney look before her interview? Did she sign the paper stating she'd abide by the appearance guidelines? If not all the steps were taken because of the phone interview, I sort of see a loophole.

All the supposed Disney "customers" (actually anti muslim hatemongers) here who are claiming to be "American" are such hypocrites because they make claims to "American" values but do not even understand or know what it means. America was set up on religious freedom, there are constitutional laws in place for this right of every American citizen. Disney did not "cave in", they just upheld THE LAW which they should just like any other corporation. Your anti-Muslim hate mongering goes against the very constitutional foundations of America, YOU are the traitors and are destroying what American was founded on.

I'm glad Disneyland is respecting one of the eldest and deepest held American beliefs, freedom of religion.

It's a shame there are people who believe that a person of another faith should not be allowed to practice that faith, or that those individuals wishing to retain their religious beliefs should go find "some Muslim company to work at".

I hope the Disney enterprise repeats such allowances and continues to adapt to other religious mandates (whether it be for Muslims, Sikhs, etc) in this pluralistic society.

Good for CAIR and for Disney for recognizing that the First Amendment applies everywhere, not just outside the "magic kingdom."

This is just one more example of how CAIR acts as a voice for civil rights. Great job!

So put mouse ears on it. What's the problem?

Walt must be turning in his grave right about now... Ridiculous!!!!

Nice job Disneyland!

@Jane I'm fairly certain you will go to Disneyland again. Mickey will suck you back in.

@pitung Nope, it's a secular one with a lot of denominations of Christians, Catholics, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Aetheists, Agnostics, etc.

@Geoff You've got the right idea man.

@C.C. It's hijaab, not "hajib". And i guarantee you the girls who wear it in America do it for themselves, similar to nuns covering themselves, or the Mary, mother of Christ for that matter.

@lioness Do you really want America to be like France? I mean France is a nice country and all, but it's not America.

@Tom I'm certain you'll be going back to the magic kingdom. Your family won't even remember this little thing the next time you go and have a churro in one hand and zapping Zerg with a Buzz Light year gun with the other. By the way if you hit him in the chest you get 50,000 points, there's a small tiny target there.

Disney is caving to the forces of Sharia Law, which the Saudi-funded political pressure group CAIR advocates. The Disney case is not the only lawsuit on CAIR's radical Islamic agenda...there have been numerous similar suits instituted across the country by CAIR & other similar pro-Sharia groups.

Their common goal is the Islamization not only of the US, but the entire world...a global Islamic caliphate, governed by Sharia for both Muslims & "infidels". There only essential disagreement with radical groups like Al Qaeda & the Taliban is the MEANS by which this is to be achieved...AQ & Taliban seek it through violence & terrorist actions, CAIR seeks it through the political process.

But their GOAL is a common one with only the means differing...

Its a bunch of Crap everybody has rights except the people who live in this country legally. I cant go to a sporting event in my own country and chant USA because it may offend some one from another country. This country is going to hell in a hand basket at one time we were a proud nation now it seems we have our rights stripped away from us and givin to illeagals and muslems or any one else that our spineless government chooses to support. Hell news flash how bout standing up for the people who put in office.

What the Hell Disneyland?????!!!!

Great job Disney. So proud American values are prevailing.

This is what America stands for: liberty (including religious liberty) and justice for all.

Kudos to CAIR for helping us Americans uphold those values and not let the bigotry and ignorance of some make us forget what we truly stand for.
I will be joining as a CAIR member and will mail my check to you.

So.... lets see... Disney caved in for the sake of political correctness. Is America ever going to put her foot down and just say no for once?

I have an idea. Now that they set a precedence to allow an employee to overstep their own "cast member" costume dress code, lets have someone put on ... oh, say an article of clothing that symbolizes Satanic worship and when Disney refuses or dismisses the employee, then sue the crap out of Disney Corporation for being "intolerant" to one person's religious belief but not to another.

Kudos to CAIR and Disney for doing the right thing. Hijab is not a choice. It is a bona fide practice of a religion practiced by 1.3 billion people on this planet. We live in the U.S., where it is AGAINST THE LAW for anyone, including employers to discriminate against anyone who is practicing their religion. (Psst...read the U.S. Constitution). It seems most of the commentators here need to go back to Civics 101 class in high school. While they're at it, they might as well take World Religions 101 as well.

I'm really saddened by many of the comments on the list that take the "if you don't like it, then go work somewhere else attitude."

Once upon a time people of certain races were not allowed to go to the same schools, eat at the same restaurants nor apply to the same jobs as White Americans. I'm sure when an African American applied for a job as a waiter in a restaurant at the start of the civil rights movement he was probably laughed at and offered a position as a dishwasher instead. Granted a headscarf and a person's skincolor are not the same thing - but I would hope that our nation would have learned from the past and move towards greater acceptance of all its citizens not make every advancement towards tolerance a bitter fight. It's honestly a shame.

Oh and by the way, there are little dancing figurines in the "It's a small world" ride wearing headscarves from around the world for goodness sake! How hypocritical can Disney get.

Good job Disney! Who cares what she wears on her head as long as she is competent and can do her work properly. All this anti-Muslim hate is getting out of control

The aim of Islam is to dominate the world. Most part it can be done by violence and intimidation and remaining part it does by Taquia. To learn more about it try

'the religion of peace dot com'

Too bad Disney decided to "cave in" to people who don't want to be become Americans.

Thomas Jefferson would not recognize the so called Americanism of these bigots who object to someone wearing religious clothing that in no way interferes with her job. Unless you're full blooded Native Americans, somebody objected to your people when they showed up in someone else's country, but everybody got over it. For shame.

People get a grip. It's a head scarf, not an uzi. Boycott Disney because the are greedy bastards, not because they finally made an half-hearted effort to be human.

My son worked at Disney , he quit after a week because he is deaf from one ear and they would NOT accommodate him , HE is an American citizen and has a disability. My son told me how strict they are on dress code and that they provide all this info at Orientation.

This Country is buckling , I can say this because my mom is a native Californian and my biological father is Muslim from Saudi Arabia. I know both cultures and yet I choose to be called American , I was born here and adhere to my own values. This was once a great Country with backbone , now it is like a spineless jelly fish afraid to force people to speak English, follow uniform code etc.....

Okay let her wear her scarf after work , or on her break !!! Soon Snow white or ariel will be wearing a religious scarf down the main street parade !!! It is NOT about rights or religion , she wanted to sue FOR MONEY that is what all this is about

It's sad seeing all these comments about immigrants having to adhere to certain "cultural norms," including dress, when they arrive at this country or else choose to live elsewhere. What makes America is its people, and its people are immigrants. Its people are not of one color, race, or religion. There's no typical American.

And even if the "typical" American is not a Muslim who wears a hijab, the fundamental American social VALUE is that of personal freedom, including freedom of religion and expression. That value should supersede any "cultural norms." And it's precisely that value that has made America such an exciting, dynamic, and progressive country. It's precisely what has drawn so many people to this country from around the world, seeking freedom and opportunity.

The idea that America is a "white country" or a "Christian country" is a myth clung to by those who fear change. But the reality is that change is nothing new to America, and it'll never go away.

Sorry Juan...this case has NOTHING to do with a preferred or favored religion or the US being a "Christian nation".

Because CROSSES, yarmulkes or Buddhist medallions are ALSO prohibited by Disney's long-standing traditional dress code against ALL religious wardrobe accessories!!

« | 1 2 3 4 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: