(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-MIâ€™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 customerâ€™s face is visible for identification.
“We applaud this settlement, which represents a mutually-agreeable resolution of this case and we welcome Advance Americaâ€™s policy change that accommodates Muslim women who wear the hijab, as well as individuals of other faith backgrounds who wear religious head coverings,â€ 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: â€œWe 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.â€ Fulmer underscored that â€œthe 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. â€œAdvance Americaâ€™s efforts to adjust its nationwide policy to balance its security needs with the unique needs of different communities isÂ a positive step for all Americans, and should be commended,â€ said Fatina Abdrabboh, ADC-MI Executive Director.
Lena F. Masri, Esq.
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