(KANSAS CITY, 8/16/2021) — The Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Kansas) today called on a Chipotle Mexican Grill Restaurant in Lenexa, Kan., to fire an assistant manager who allegedly repeatedly harassed and assaulted a female Muslim employee who wears the hijab, or Islamic head scarf.
Over the past month, the assistant manager reportedly asked the employee several times if he could see her hair, to which she responded that she wears the hijab for religious reasons and would not remove it. The assistant manager would allegedly repeat that same request while the employee continued working.
On Aug. 9, the employee was reportedly again approached by the assistant manager asking again to see her hair, to which she responded “no” and returned to her work. The assistant manager then allegedly proceeded to forcibly pull the employee’s hijab off. Both the employee’s cousin, who works the same shift and faced the same harassment from the assistant manager, and the shift supervisor witnessed the incident.
The employee immediately reported the incident to the general manager of the restaurant and the regional field manager, who responded to her the next morning saying the incident would be dealt with immediately and resolved. The field manager came to the store that morning and had a brief private meeting with the assistant manager.
The employee contacted the field manager that evening to inquire and he told her he had talked to the assistant manager who now understood why his actions were inappropriate and that he believes the assistant manager will act appropriately in the future. The employee also filed a report about the harassment and battery incident with the Lenexa Police Department.
In a statement, CAIR-Kansas Board Chair Moussa Elbayoumy said:
“We condemn the actions of this assistant manager who allegedly committed this act of assault against an employee after creating a hostile work environment for the previous month by continually harassing her and her cousin with his demands to remove their religious head cover so he can see their hair. This is a clear violation of their religious rights and of their right to have a safe work environment.
“The company should fire this assistant manager and review its policy and training of management staff to make sure that no other employee is subjected to this discriminatory and humiliating treatment in the future. All company management staff should be offered diversity training on the right to religious accommodations for staff and the proper way to treat their employees.”
Elbayoumy noted that CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups.
SEE: CAIR Issues an Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices
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