Muslim woman receives apology for being sent home from work because she wore a hijab

Her employer Chicken Express compensated her for the day she was asked to leave

A Muslim woman challenged her right to wear a hijab to work at a Chicken Express fast-food restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas, and won.

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A Muslim woman challenged her right to wear a hijab to work at a Chicken Express fast-food restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas, and won.

Using the power of social media, Stefanae Coleman posted a video on Twitter last week as she had a discussion with her manager about the hijab she wore. Coleman, whose video detailed the exchange, said her manager was sending her home for wearing it, according to ABC News.

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Coleman, 22, used the viral video as an opportunity to explain to her manager why she wears a hijab. More than 635,000 people have viewed it.

“Your job is your job and it has nothing to do with religion,” the manager responded.

Coleman told him that she “read the handbook and in the handbook, it doesn’t say anything about not being able to wear religious head pieces.”

“It says you have to follow the Chicken Express uniform policy and it lists out what it is and it doesn’t involve anything else,” the manager replied, according to ABC News.

Coleman said in the video that she started working for the chain in October and had been upfront with her managers about her religion. She said according to the handbook, there was “equal opportunity for every religion.”

Rhett Warren, a lawyer for the Chicken Express franchise owner, released a statement to ABC News backing Coleman’s freedom of religion. He said the manager in question “unfortunately did not take religious liberty into consideration.”

“Ms. Coleman is not facing discrimination for her decision to wear a headscarf or for being Muslim. The manager’s decision to send Ms. Coleman home for wearing the headscarf was due to a lack of training,” Warren wrote in the statement. “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.”

Warren said Coleman was compensated for the hours that she lost when she was sent home and that she “worked the following day and was allowed to wear her headscarf.”

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“An apology was made to Ms. Coleman for the mistake. The Chicken Express franchisee is addressing this issue through additional training, and Ms. Coleman has been asked to participate in developing the training so that a mistake like this will not happen again,” the statement continues, according to ABC News. “The manager has been reprimanded for his decision, and he will receive further training on how to properly handle similar situations in the future.”

Coleman told ABC News that her response to the manager’s instruction could potentially “help other women like me” and that she hopes that the situation helps other employees to “be strong and fight for your rights and for employers to study about the hijab and what it means to Muslim women.”

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