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Two weeks ago Maryam Abdi, 16, walked into Old Country Buffet in Fridley with an application in hand, hoping to land a job as a cashier.
But as soon as she sat down for the interview, Abdi claims the manager asked about what she was wearing on her head.
“(She asked) ‘do you always wear that scarf on your head?’ I told her ‘yes, it’s part of my religion’,” Abdi said.
And with that, Abdi says the interview was over.
“She told me right on the spot, ‘I can’t even give you this interview because you’re violating the uniform regulation’,” Abdi said.
“She didn’t even give me a chance,” Abdi said. ‘She just judged me on what I wear and not who I am.”
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS called Old Country Buffet corporate headquarters. A member of the legal team said, “We are a solid member of a diverse community and are serious about being an equal opportunity employer. We are investigating this matter.”
Those with the Council on American Islamic Relations say this is a typical case of discrimination.
Taneeza Islam says the Minnesota Human Rights Act allows employees the right to practice their religion at work. She has already reached out to Old Country Buffet to educate management.
“We’d like to sit down with them and talk about the law,” Islam said. “We’d like to offer our diversity training for them so they understand how religious accommodation works.” (MORE)


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