Shereen Attia says she felt betrayed when her former employer allegedly denied her a job.
"I was shocked, I was disappointed. I mean it’s unbelievable how people, even though they know you, but they’re still ignorant."
The 24-year-old Sac State student says she got a call from a store manager inviting her to apply for a new position at Whitehall Jewelers in Fairfield. Attia had worked for the same manager at another jewelry store that closed. It shows, Attia says, her proven track record.
"‘Cause if she doesn’t know I’m such a good worker, she wouldn’t have called me."
Attia alleges when she went to the store to submit her application, wearing the head scarf, she was told she could not be hired because of it. Officials with Whitehall say their policy prohibits discussion of litigation.
John Doran – a labor employment lawyer with the office of Greenberg Traurig in Phoenix – says Muslim dress has been a more frequent subject of Equal Employment Opportunity related litigation in the past six years.
"Post 9/11 the EEOC has been very, very diligent in prosecuting claims with respect to the Muslim faith."
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination based on religion or ethnicity. The lawsuit asks for economic and punitive damages.