A Texas woman who recently converted to Islam was sent home from work after refusing to remove her hijab, according to reports.
Stefanae Coleman, 22, converted to Islam in August and started working at a Chicken Express in Saginaw in October upon her brother’s recommendation. But a manager took exception to her religious headscarf when she wore it to work for the first time on Monday, the Dallas Morning News reports.
Prior to her hiring, Coleman said she told her supervisors that she planned to soon wear a hijab. She later found nothing in an employee handbook about the garment worn by some Muslim women, she told the newspaper.
“If that was going to be a problem, I wouldn’t have applied,” Coleman said. “This is part of my religion.”
But Coleman learned otherwise during a confrontation with her manager, who told her to remove anything without the Chicken Express logo, video shows.
“Your job is your job,” the manager said, according to the footage posted by Coleman on Twitter. “Your job has nothing to do with religion.”
Coleman then noted that the fast-food chain’s policies say nothing about a ban on “religious headpieces,” the footage shows.
“It says you have to follow the Chicken Express uniform policy and it lists out what it is,” the manager replied. “And it doesn’t involve anything else.”
Coleman refused to remove her hijab and left the restaurant before walking across the street to cry in a Subway restaurant, the newspaper reports.
“What he did was wrong,” she said. “You shouldn’t send someone home [for] their religion.”
An attorney for the franchise owner, meanwhile, said in a statement that he apologized to Coleman and claimed the manager’s remarks were due to a “lack of training,” CBS News reports.
“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,” the statement read.
Coleman was allowed to wear her hijab to work Tuesday, but left early after other employees called her a “fake Muslim,” the Dallas Morning News reports. She’s now considering legal action against the regional fast-food chain.
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