Two years ago, Imane Boudlal was fired as a hostess at Disneyland’s Grand Californian hotel Storyteller’s restaurant. The now 28 year old Ms. Boudlal, a Moroccan born Muslim who is an American citizen had worked at Disneyland for two years when she began wearing her hijab (head scarf) to work. If you totally believed the fact pattern as told by the ACLU and the Hadsell Stormer Richardson & Renick lawyers, Ms. Boudlal was fired by Disney due to anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias which religiously discriminated against her.
What the jury and the court of public opinion should take into consideration before rushing to judgment are the accommodations which where purposed and rejected by Boudlal. All workers at Disney resorts wear uniforms or “costumes”, particularly front-line employees at thematic attractions and restaurants. Boudlal asked that her costume at the fin de siècle themed restaurant could be modified. Disney offered a compromise attire which should have satisfied the modesty rationale for observant Muslim women wearing a hijab.
Ms. Boudlal, however, rejected this employer accommodation by asserting “The hat makes a joke of my religion and draws even more attention to me” and "They don't want me to look Muslim. They just don't want the head covering to look like a hijab." Disney notes that Boudlal was offered four different roles out of the public view, which she rejected. In lieu of the rejected accommodation attire, Boudlal was given a choice to take off the hijab, work in the back or go home. Boudlal went home and tried reporting to work for several other days wearing her head scarf before being terminated.
Some may wonder why it took two years for Ms. Boudlal to file her discrimination lawsuit. The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Los Angeles tried to use Boudlal as a cause célèbre two years ago but attorney Ameena Qazi could not successfully try the case in public.
Even observant Muslims like Qudosi Chronicles editor Shireen Qudosi questioned Boudlal’s stated rationale for wanting to wear the hijab in “observance” of Ramadan is ridiculous and a false act of faith. Moreover, an observant Muslim woman who believing in it would not considered a head covering optional for over two years as did Boudlal.
It is also important to note that when Boudlal was terminated, she was represented by UNITE Local 11, which did not have a labor contract with Disney hotel employees for over two and a half years. Hence, mocking the proposed costume accommodations made for Boudlal was good agi-prop for the Union’s perception among the public. Well, UNITE Local 11 signed a five year agreement with the Mickey Mouse Company, and the higher wages and better health care seemed to supercede standing up for their “discriminated” Muslim union sister Boudlal. So it was wise for Boudlal’s new legal representation before her right to sue expired.
Boudlal’s statements and actions are confusing. Boudlal did not claim to have a spiritual conversion but was motivated to assert her religious rights as she became an American citizen. Boudlal then complained that the sartorial accommodation drew even more attention to her and being out of uniform did not do the same. Boudlal as an employee seems to think that she can dictate how an entertainment company that is theatric and thematic can present its employees to the public. It does not seem that CAIR saw any accommodation for Boudlal’s modesty other than allowing her to shatter the carefully cultivated public images which Disney presents to the public and Boudlal agreed to as part of her employment.
Perhaps this is a case of creeping Sharia, where an active minority uses lawfare to dictate terms to the public. If this case ever goes to trial, may the jury weigh all of the facts of the matter as they deliberate on this Mickey Mouse alleged discrimination case.