In the latest chapter of a public conflict stretching back to 2010, a former hostess at a hotel restaurant in Disney's California Adventure theme park filed a federal lawsuit against the company Monday, saying she was harassed and discriminated against at work because she is Muslim and a North African Arab.
Imane Boudlal, 28, is a U.S. citizen born in Morocco. She started working at the Storytellers Cafe in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in 2008. Two years later, Boudlal asked to wear the hijab, or headscarf worn by observant Muslim women, at work, but said she was suspended after rejecting Disney's costume alternatives and offers of four backstage jobs away from the public eye. She filed a 2010 complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is still pending.
From the beginning, according to a statement by the ACLU of Southern California, which is representing Boudlal, "her coworkers and supervisors subjected her to anti-Muslim and anti-Arab slurs, such as 'terrorist,' 'camel' and others. She reported the harassment to her managers, who admitted a problem but never took action."