hijab, Chipolte, EEOC

Chipotle Sued By EEOC After Employee’s Hijab Allegedly Snatched by Manager

A Chipotle manager in Kansas is facing a federal lawsuit after being accused of snatching an employee’s hijab off their head. The lawsuit was filed on Sept. 27 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The assistant manager allegedly harassed the employee by repeatedly asking her to remove the headscarf, often worn due to religious beliefs held by Muslim women. After the woman refused, she was questioned for several weeks by management. Then, the supervisor proceeded to snatch off her hijab anyway. The “offensive” action, according to the agency’s lawsuit, “created a hostile working environment based on religion.”

“We have a zero tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind and we have terminated the employee in question,” Chipotle said in a statement.

According to the lawsuit, the harassment began when the then 19-year-old began working under the supervisor at the restaurant chain in 2021. Although she notified upper-management of the negative interaction, she claims nothing was done to ensure her safety and the workplace harassment continued.

After he began touching her headscarf and pulling it down, the Muslim woman submitted her two-weeks notice. However, she was allegedly not placed on the work schedule for those two weeks.

The lawsuit wants to ensure that Chipotle guarantees that all employees of any religion have safe policies provided for them, in addition to paying damages to the former employee.

Her harassment claims have ties to Islamophobia, which remains a global issue, as the policing of Muslim women’s hijabs continues to be upheld in countries such as France.

However, the EEOC maintains that religious freedoms and outward display must be respected by employers. Both the victim and assailant’s identities remain undisclosed to the public, but, according to the EEOC, Islamophobic harassment must be addressed in the workplace.

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