(WASHINGTON, DC, 8/6/20) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the law firm Jacobs & Crumplar today held an online news conference to announce the filing of a lawsuit in Delaware federal court on behalf of three Muslim women forbidden by the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families (DSCYF) from wearing hijabs, or Islamic head scarves.
Watch CAIR’s News Conference:
In its lawsuit, CAIR wrote in part:
“Plaintiffs’ request for a religious accommodation to wear a hijab does not constitute undue hardship upon DSCYF or otherwise affect DSCYF’s business operations.
“. . .DSCYF did not engage in any interactive or good faith process regarding Plaintiff’s sincerely-held religious beliefs. Instead, DSCYF ignored Plaintiffs’ alternatives, prohibited them from working, and created a hostile work environment for them until their employment ended.”
CAIR is seeking an injunction prohibiting DSCYF from discriminating against employees on the basis of religion, sex or race, and to allow accommodation for religious head coverings. The lawsuit also seeks payment for economic damages and emotional harm, along with punitive damages and legal costs.
Read CAIR’s Lawsuit:
[NOTE: Last year, Madinah Brown — a plaintiff in the lawsuit — filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the Delaware agency. Two other Muslim women who were also prohibited from wearing hijab at work have since come forward.]
News conference participants included:
- Tia Mays, Plaintiff and Former Delaware Agency Employee
- Patrick Gallagher, Jacobs & Crumplar
- Zanah Ghalawanji, CAIR Attorney
- Gadeir Abbas, CAIR Attorney
“No one should have to pick between their livelihood and their faith,” said CAIR attorney Zanah Ghalawanji. “By standing up for their rights and fighting back, Tia, Shakeya and Madinah hope that this agency will be prohibited from imposing this terrible predicament on other women in the future.”
“The State’s treatment of these three Muslim women of color is wrong and violates multiple applicable laws,” said attorney Patrick Gallagher. “Jacobs & Crumplar is proud to stand with CAIR on behalf of these women in this matter of great public importance.”
CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.
The Washington-based civil rights organization offers a booklet, called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” to help employers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the workplace.
CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.