Disney Sued For Not Letting Muslim Woman Wear Hijab

Imane Boudlal, a naturalized US citizen born in Morocco who is Muslim, is suing the Walt Disney Company for religious discrimination and harassment. While working as a hostess at the Storytellers Cafe Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, in 2010, Boudlal says she was forbidden to wear her headscarf because it was not part of her approved work costume.

As she said in a statement:

Disneyland calls itself the happiest place on earth, but I faced harassment as soon as I started working there. It only got worse when I decided to wear a hijab. My journey towards wearing it couldn’t have been more American; it began at my naturalization ceremony I realized that I had the freedom to be who I want and freely practice my religion. Neither Disney nor anyone else can take that from me.

In the complaint filed with the ACLU of Southern California in the Central District of California, Boudlal says that she asked supervisors for permission to wear a hijab. Not only was her request denied but she was told that wearing the hijab would “negatively affect patrons’ experiences at the Storytellers Cafe.”

Boudlal says that coworkers and supervisors directed anti-Muslim and anti-Arab slurs towards her, calling her a “terrorist,” “camel” and “Kunta Kinte” (a reference to the slave from Alex Haley’s book Roots) and told her that “Arabs are terrorists, that she spoke a terrorist language and was trained to make bombs.” After telling her manager about such harassment, Boudlai said that it was acknowledged it as a problem but no action was taken. She was told that it would take time for a change.”

If even some of these allegations are true, I’m deeply disturbed by such behavior on the part of Disney employees and that this was allowed to continue.

Boudlal at first did not wear her hijab for fear of being fired. After being told she could not wear it, she tried to wear a hijab in colors matching her uniform or bearing a Disney logo but was told she would have to work at the back of the cafe or wear a hat on top of her headscarf. Disney offered her the option of wearing specially designed uniforms that a Muslim employee who was a vacation planner at a Florida Disney park had worn after being told she could not wear her hijab.

Boudlal refused these options. After three months of working at Disney and attempting to contact other supervisors, Boudlal filed a written complaint. One supervisor told her to stop complaining and she was eventually taken off the schedule and fired.

Disney’s view is that the company offered Boudlal “multiple options”:

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has a history of accommodating religious requests from cast members of all faiths.We presented Ms Boudlal with multiple options to accommodate her religious beliefs, as well as offered her several roles that would have allowed her to wear her own hijab. Unfortunately, she rejected all of our efforts and has since refused to come to work.

Boudlal is seeking punitive damages from Disney as well as a permanent injunction that employees not be prohibited for wearing hijabs and for Disney anti-harassment training to include Muslim issues.

Disney may have a “history” of accommodating the religious beliefs of its employees but in Boudlal’s case, its inadequate and insensitive response to her requests is completely behind the times.


Related Care2 Coverage

FIFA Overturns Headscarf Ban for Female Soccer Players

Toddler Put on TSA’s “No Fly” List, Taken Off Plane

In Fencer’s Hijab – Struggle and Inspiration


Photo by Loren Javier


Frank S.
Past Member 3 years ago

Sounds like just another get rich quick, everyday, run of the mill lawsuit scheme ,
Lawyers have to eat too.
With a country flooded with too many lawyers what can you expect.

Rahman Qureshi
Rahman Qureshi3 years ago

@ Wende Anne - to answer your question, Muslim females wear head scarfs and other forms of Islamic coverings, because of Qur'an 33:59. It is not out of piety, it is so they won't be molested. So then what does that mean for non-Muslim females or Muslim females who don't want to cover? It means that they are subject to being molested by Muslim males.

Islamic doctrine is anti-female, saying that a females needs 4 male witnesses to prove rape or else she will be punished (Qur'an 24:4, 24:13), saying that a female's testimony is not equal to a man's but it takes 2 women to equal one man (Qur'an 2:282), saying that non-Muslim females can be owned as sex slaves (Qur'an 4:3, 4:24, 23:6, 33:50-52, 70:30) being called Melk al-yamin or "what your right hand OWNS". Little Muslim girls can be raped and it be called "marriage" (Qur'an 65:4 in light of 33:49). Qur'an 65:4 regulates consummated re-marriage of prepubescent girls. This means they were already raped by a Muslim man (called a "husband") and still being too young to menstruate, are being told by Muhammad's god Allah that Muslim men have to wait 3 months to see if she is pregnant before another one rapes ("marries") her still in her prepubescent state. This shows the "wisdom and morality" of Islam. A prepubescent girl cannot become pregnant. Furthermore, no man should be raping them or any female! Yet Muhammad, considered by Muslims to be the perfect man, raped his own child bride named Aisha when she was 9 and he 54

Rahman Qureshi
Rahman Qureshi3 years ago

@ Steven Gregory D. - overall, your comments are on point. In many Muslim countries, like Iran, the females don't even have a choice to not wear the hijab. As for choice, you mentioned "if I choose to make my home in a Muslim country." The problem is non-Muslims didn't choose to live in Muslim countries, the Muslims took over those countries through jihad and subjugated the people there. Afghanistan was Buddhist. Much of the Muslim world, like Syria, was Christian. Pakistan was Hindu as part of India.

The reason this Muslim lady wore the hijab is to impose Islam. Like Nazism, Islam is a supremacist ideology, which mandates that all non-Muslims live as semi-slaves. Jizya (Qur'an 9:29) is extortion that non-Muslims are to pay. Did you know that the reason for the creation of the Marines was to fight jihad? Our Federal budget was up to 20% being used to may Muslims not to attack us. The "shores of Tripoli" in the Marine hymn is reference to that battle.

While individual Muslims can possess honorable attributes, Islam itself is supremacist, racist, oppressive of Muslim females, and against all non-Muslims whether religious or secularist, agnostic, atheist. This is why all of us need to bind together to end Islam. Muslims are the first victims of Islam, and the pious Muslims seek to subjugate the rest of us because the Qur'an and Muhammad teach that the rest of us are the worst of creatures and filthy.

Steven Gregory Davis

Oh, lest I forget...What bothers me the most about these silly sorts of lawsuits, is that Muslim women such as Imame, actually expect the United States to be more linient and supportive of their cause, than their own home country is...As I mentioned in my previous comment, Turkey does NOT allow their teachers to wear a Burka while teaching class!!!!!

Steven Gregory Davis

@Syd H. I agree with you completely...I do not consider myself to be anti-muslim, but it bothers the hell out of me that muslim women insist on FORCING their religious beliefs on other people...Case in point, a Turkish woman living in France sued a school which did not allow her to wear her Burka while teaching...Interestingly enough, in Turkey, women are not allowed to wear their Burkas while teaching, either...and I don't limit my objection to the muslim faith, a crucifix has no business being in a class room either...Separation of Church and State...and one last little tidbit...If I choose to make my home in a foreign country, then I'd damned well better be willing to accept their customs and traditions.

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Kathy Lucas4 years ago

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Rob Dean
Rob Dean5 years ago

Hey, private company, private policy. Go wear your religious garb on your own time. This is NOT discrimination - anyone, regardless of their faith, would have to wear that costume. Why do these religious bigots think theirs is the only one and they can impose their beliefs on everyone else? Fire her and ban her from all Disney parks. Hope the court dismissed the suit immediately. And why did she come to the US anyway if she does not like our customs?

Past Member
Past Member 5 years ago

I read about this before she went to an attny. This lady had worked at Disney for almost 3 yrs before she wore her scarf. She never mentioned it in the interview. When she did ask Disney to let her wear her scarf, disney said that they could give her a different job, so they could work things out. The the muslim lady said she was harrassed alot, however she never said anything about til 3 yrs later. I am sorry, but this lady should have made sure she told some one about the on job harrassment as soon as it started. And she should have made sure she could have worn her scarf in the interview that would have saved them both alot of money and time. Disney should have won on this, however at this time and day ppl are afraid of Islam and the muslims. Thats why the courts ruled in her favor. If i sound racist , sorry. I am just tired of the muslims getting thier way because america is afraid of them

Rin S.
Rin S5 years ago

Those racist remarks were without a doubt unacceptable. If Disney wants to remove a woman's religious rights, fine. But they can't keep trying to come across as tolerant and accepting.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin5 years ago

United States is not a muslim country, it's diversified and separates state and religion. Disney is not a democracy, it's an enterprise. If you want to wear your religion in public, chose another job. Most people that have a belief system, keep it private. Those that don't, keep shoving it in other people's faces. I don't care what you believe in, just keep it to yourself. I'm not interested in becoming a member!