EEOC Complaint: Muslim Woman Told To Certify Faith Or Remove Headscarf.

An Indiana woman is filing an EEOC complaint against her employer after she said she was discriminated against for wearing the Islamic headscarf.  Watch video here.  Mary Cabrera recently converted to Islam and began wearing the Islamic headscarf to work at Brightpoint‘s distribution center in Plainfield.  She said staff asked her to take it off, because it was not a part of her uniform, but she refused.  “I started crying,” she said. “I said no I’m not taking it off. I will not remove my headscarf.”  In order to keep it, Cabrera said, she was asked to fulfill something.

“She says tomorrow if you come back to work and you have your hijab on, your scarf, your du rag, whatever you want to call it, you can’t work, unless you’re certified,” said Cabrera.

Hoping to save her job and her faith, Mary went to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in Plainfield and had a certificate of faith made. But even the staff at ISNA told her she didn’t need it to be a Muslim.

“We all have rights. And our forefathers came to this country for freedom of religion,” said Cabrera. “All I want to do is come to work, make my money, to pay my bills.”

Brightpoint said it doesn’t need a certificate of faith and it denies ever asking for one.

A spokesman said they only asked Cabrera to fill out a religious exemption request so she could wear the scarf.

Brightpoint released the following statement:

“Our preliminary investigation into Fox59’s request for information about Mary Cabrera’s complaint to the news station that she would “be fired” if she did not remove her Islamic headscarf has revealed additional details.

Brightpoint has a specific dress code for employees in its distribution centers.   The code specifies that employees wear only Company approved headwear, unless the employee has requested an exemption to the headwear portion of the dress code for religious reasons.  The purpose for the dress code is to promote worker camaraderie, decorum and, most importantly, to help ensure worker safety.  On October 18, 2011, Ms. Cabrera was requested to remove a headscarf as it was not part of her approved Brightpoint employee attire and she did not have a religious exemption request on file.  Later that day, Ms. Cabrera met with her supervisor and informed them of her recent conversion to the Islam faith.  At that time, Ms. Cabrera provided an official request for a religious exemption to wear an Islamic headscarf while at work.   Ms. Cabrera’s request was honored and she was back at work on October 19, 2011.

Brightpoint is committed to providing a work environment that is free from any form of discrimination and is proud of our diverse workforce.  We have a large contingent of employees who practice the Islam faith and we are supportive of them and their requests to wear headscarves as part of their work uniform.”

Brightpoint is currently allowing Cabrera to wear her headscarf. She told Fox 59 she is going through with the EEOC complaint. Source: Aishah Hasnie, Fox 59. Indianapolis, Indiana.


Posted on October 26, 2011, in Employee Relations and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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