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CAIR-MI and Advance America Announce Settlement in Lawsuit Over Religious Head Scarf

CAIR MI logo(10/22/15) – The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) and Advance America Cash Advance Centers, Inc. today announced that they had reached a settlement in CAIR-MI’s federal lawsuit against Advance America. The lawsuit challenged a company security policy that required the temporary removal of any head covering for entry to Advance America centers; the nationwide policy enabled employees to identify customers before they entered a center.

The lawsuit was filed after an Advance America employee asked a Muslim woman to temporarily remove her hijab in order to access an Advance America location to cash a money order.

The agreement, the specific details of which remain confidential, includes a commitment by the company to modify its policy to allow a customer to enter an Advance America center without removing religious head covering, provided that the customer’s face is visible for identification.

“We applaud this settlement, which represents a mutually-agreeable resolution of this case and we welcome Advance America’s policy change that accommodates Muslim women who wear the hijab, as well as individuals of other faith backgrounds who wear religious head coverings,†said CAIR-MI Senior Staff Attorney Lena Masri, who served as co-counsel with attorney Shereef Akeel of Akeel & Valentine, PLC.

Advance America spokesperson Jamie Fulmer added: “We are pleased we were able to work with CAIR-MI to find a solution that is both mindful of our need to protect the safety and security of our centers and employees and respectful of the religious beliefs and practices of our customers.†Fulmer underscored that “the policy requiring removal of hats, hoods and sunglasses is a security measure to ensure that anyone entering a center can be easily identified, and not related to any religious practices.â€

The settlement was welcomed by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Michigan (ADC-MI), which was monitoring the case. “Advance America’s efforts to adjust its nationwide policy to balance its security needs with the unique needs of different communities is  a positive step for all Americans, and should be commended,†said Fatina Abdrabboh, ADC-MI Executive Director.

CAIR-MI Contact:

Lena F. Masri, Esq.

(248) 390-9784

Advance America Contact:

Jamie Fulmer

(864) 342-5633

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