How should a Muslim woman in Western society begin dressing in hijab?
Specifically, in terms of career in an office/corporate environment... Should she just show up to work one day with her headscarf? Or should she tell someone / ask a superior before hand?
Most office/corporate environments in the US will allow a Muslim woman to wear her hijab. Although it may not be stated, it will probably be expected that the hijab fit in with the corporate culture of the organization (match the rest of her outfit in terms of color and style, etc.).
I would definitely recommend speaking with a supervisor or someone in human resources beforehand. However, there's nothing to fear as she'll likely receive a positive response. If she has a problem with other co-workers, she will have already reached out to her superior or HR and established a dialogue on the issue.
If it fits within the company dress code - which I'm pretty sure in most places it would - then there is no reason she couldn't. Nor should she have to check with the superior.
Dress codes exist for reasons like professionalism, and safety. USUALLY a hijab would not present a bother for either of these - unless it was loose fitting and the woman worked in a factory or such with fast moving machinery near head height, or that it could get caught in. Professionally, I can't see it being a problem, unless they are front of house and wear the face covering also.
If the rest of the office don't know she's muslim, then she should be prepared for questions, mostly enquiring. But otherwise, all should be fine.
(SHOULD, doesn't always mean it WILL be...people are people, and some aren't very nice!)
Actually, she does not legally need to ask permission. She can show up wearing her hijab or headscarf if she decides to. Hijab is a personal decision but is protected by several US federal laws. So if an employer or superior has an issue with it, you...er...she can sue the company for discrimination. Here are just a few laws that support a Muslim woman's right to wear hijab.
The First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment and numerous federal civil rights laws bar federal and state officials and private sectors from discriminating against women who practice hijab.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)
Federal civil rights law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits an employer from firing, refusing to hire, or disciplining a woman because of religious practices like hijab.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) specifically states that refusing to hire someone because of a concern that customers or co-workers may be “uncomfortable” with hijab is illegal.
And of course, there are case laws regarding this topic. Here are just a couple of lawsuits to follow up on:
Muslim woman sues Disney
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08 … -work?lite
Abercrombie & Fitch pays out $71,000 to settle lawsuits over hijabs
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/s … ad-scarves
The are just a few of the laws. I have had my own problems of discrimination from co-workers. But honestly, it is the customers that pose a bigger threat. I have been spit at, verbally abused, and I have been followed home and physically assaulted on several occasions. I can only speak of my location when it comes to the police department, but here they don't care and sweep it under the rug, despite it being a hate crime. I just don't report it anymore.
If you, or whoever the woman is, wants to wear hijab to work, I say MashAllah! You, or she, gives Muslimahs all over the world inspiration and strength to persevere through all of the crap we have to deal with. But in the end, the law is on our side even if it has to be hashed out in court.
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