Stumbled across an article on msn yesterday. Couldn't get a link because it was a video that was among a series of videos.
A female Muslim employee of Disneyworld, who acts in a "hostess-type" capacity. Has been employed by them for two years. During that time she abided by her employer's "dress code" that she could not wear her head scarf while working.
Then she became a US citizen and is now suing Disney because they will not allow her to wear her head scarf on her job. Disney has offered her alternative positions that do not require her to deal with the public in a hostess capacity, but she has refused that alternative.
Her contention is that not allowing her to wear her a head scarf (in the video a plain, white scarf not incompatible with her "uniform") interferes with her right to express her religious beliefs.
Personally, I don't think that her head scarf is a problem for me, and some Disney visitors felt that way; although some felt requiring a "dress code" for employees was legitimate.
Several issues here ... does the dress code also preclude wearing insignia like a cross or Star of David (which might be jewelry if there is a specific uniform for employee for clothing aside from jewelry). Would she be permitted to wear a piece of jewelry that was akin to a cross? It would appear that the employer has to be consistent in their application of their dress requirements & might also extend that to jewelry ... to remain religion-neutral.
What if she wanted to wear a burka? Why did she not mind forsaking her head scarf for the previous 2 years in order to hold her job?
What if other employees were then allowed to wear an armband with a cross or Star of David (I'm only mentioning the more prevalent religious groups for simplicity).
Would it be appropriate for all employees to wear religious insignia? Would the employer be compelled to modify their dress code to accommodate other religious beliefs?
Since the employee was aware of the dress code (presumably) when she accepted the position, could the issue be relegated to her personal choice to accept the employer's dress requirements when accepting employment?
My basic thought, from a legal point of view, is that the employer would have the right to prohibit all religious insignia for their "public" positions, but would have to apply that to all religious groups consistently. IMO, the head scarf is an "insignia", since it is the modernistic version of the modesty coverings associated with the Muslim faith. Feel free to disagree with that perception.