The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against the restaurant chain, Chipotle after claiming religious harassment and retaliation. This was due to a manager at a Kansas location pulling off a worker’s hijab. This is a headscarf worn by some Muslim women.
The lawsuit that was filed on Wednesday states that in 2021, an assistant manager at a Chipotle in Lenexa, Kansas, continuously harassed the worker by requesting that she reveal her real hair although the worker didn’t want to. Weeks later, the harassment led to the manager pulling and almost taking off her hijab completely. The complaint notes that the manager’s behavior led to a hostile environment.
The company has stated that they have a zero tolerance policy for any type of discrimination. They added that the manager in question was terminated.
The harassment started in July 2021 when the manager started requesting that the then 19-year-old employee take off her hijab so that he could look at her hair. Throughout an entire month, he had insisted that she take it off, documents state. Each time, the woman told the manager no because she wore the hijab for religious reasons.
Although the employee disclosed the harassment to another supervisor, no action was taken.
Reports indicate that after the manager snatched the woman’s hijab almost completely off her head one night in August 2021, she put in her two weeks’ notice the next day. The complaint states that Chipotle never put the woman on the schedule during that two-week time-frame. However, they did continue to schedule other non-Muslim workers who had put in their two weeks at the time.
The lawsuit claims that Chipotle violated federal civil rights laws as the woman was discriminated against because of her religion.
The EEOC is calling for guidelines to be changed and the woman to be paid for damages.