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CAIR: Minn. Muslim’s Workplace Bias Complaint Resolved

(ST. PAUL, MN, 8/14/08) – The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today said a Muslim teenager who was initially denied a job at an Old Country Buffet restaurant in that state will be offered a second interview.
CAIR-MN welcomed what it called the “prompt and professional” response to the bias complaint by Buffets Inc, the company that operates the restaurant. Buffets Inc also communicated that it has a long-standing commitment to diversity and it has a number of team members both locally and nationally that wear Islamic head scarves, or hijabs.
The Muslim job applicant told CAIR-MN she was denied employment at the Fridley, Minn., restaurant because of her religious head scarf. She said a restaurant manager told her that her religiously-mandated scarf violated the company’s uniform regulations. The manager allegedly told her to reschedule the interview if she decided to take off the scarf.
SEE: Old Country Buffet’s Hiring Under Fire (Pioneer Press)
SEE ALSO: Old Country Buffet Accused of Discrimination (KSTP-TV)
CAIR-MN called on Buffets Inc to investigate the incident. After completion of the investigation, the company has agreed to do the following:
1. Offer the teen an apology and invite her to finish her interview with the company while wearing her scarf.
2. Ensure that employees are complying with the law by allowing for religious accommodation to the company’s uniform policy.
3. Offer CAIR’s workplace sensitivity and diversity training.
“We thank Buffets Inc for its prompt and professional handling of this incident,” said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Coordinator Taneeza Islam. “Our goal is to educate employers to ensure that such incidents can be avoided in the future.”
She said CAIR encourages employers who have questions about how to accommodate Muslim employees to contact the Washington-based civil rights and advocacy organization.
CAIR offers a booklet called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices” to help corporate managers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the workplace.
SEE: An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR-MN Communications Director Valerie Shirley, 763-226-5866, E-Mail:; Civil Rights Coordinator Taneeza Islam, 651.587.4712, E-Mail:; CAIR-MN Board Chair Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700, E-Mail:; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:


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