Stefanae Coleman Chicken Express employee told to leave place of work after wearing hijab at Saginaw, Texas fast food franchise. Mixing religion with work.
Does fast food and faith go hand in hand? A Texas woman who recently converted to Islam claims being a victim of discrimination after she was recently made to leave her place of work after refusing to remove her hijab, according to reports.
Stefanae Coleman, 22, of Fort Worth converted to Islam in August and started working at fast food vendor, Chicken Express in Saginaw upon her brother’s recommendation, in October.
It all seemed well except for when a manager took exception to Coleman’s religious headscarf after choosing to wear 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 below.
I converted to Islam not too long ago and I started wearing my hijab, I went to work today and was kicked out because my hijab was not apart the “ dress code” apparently and I wasn’t allowed to wear it. Don’t come to the chicken express in Fort Worth!! pic.twitter.com/xiulAEJS8y
— Folake Adebola 💕 (@naemuulaa) December 30, 2019
Bringing one’s personal beliefs and faith to place of work:
‘Your job is your job,’ the manager can be heard saying, according to the footage posted by Coleman on Twitter. ‘Your job has nothing to do with religion.’
Coleman is heard stating that the fast-food chain’s policies sayiing nothing about a ban on ‘religious headpieces,’ 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.
‘What he did was wrong,’ the aggrieved worker said. ‘You shouldn’t send someone home [for] their religion.’
‘If people can wear crosses/crucifixes or a kippah or yarmulke to work, why not a hijab?’
An attorney for the franchise owner has since released a statement apologizing to Coleman, claiming the manager’s remarks were due to
horrible PR for the chain 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 in part.
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.
A regard of social media commentators saw even divide as to whether Coleman should be allowed to wear her head scarf, with one commentator reflecting, ‘If people can wear crosses/crucifixes or a kippah or yarmulke to work, why not a hijab?’
While another commentator wondered whether any issue would have been made had it been for the fact that her garb was of Muslim origin.
Coleman has since indicated that she is considering legal action against the regional fast-food chain.
Coleman continues to be an employee of the fast food chain- despite her refusing to return to her place of work which she decries as ‘hostile’.