She didn’t log many hours at first — it was April, the slow season — but as the summer of 2008 progressed, the 24-year-old worked more frequently as the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa’s Storyteller’s Cafe drew more tourists.
It was also, Boudlal alleges in a lawsuit filed Monday, when co-workers began taunting her, calling the Moroccan-born Muslim a “terrorist,” “camel” and someone who learned how to make bombs at her mosque. She complained to her managers both verbally and in writing, she said, with no results.
Now, Boudlal is suing the Walt Disney Co. in federal court, saying she was discriminated against and harassed for her religious beliefs. She also alleges she unfairly lost her job in 2010 after refusing to remove her headscarf at work.
The lawsuit claims that Boudlal, a naturalized U.S. citizen, decided to wear her hijab full time in 2010. She contacted her supervisors to request an exemption to Disney’s “look” policy, or general appearance guidelines.
Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown said the company tried to accommodate Boudlal’s needs — as it has with religious requests from other employees from various faiths.
“We presented Ms. Boudlal with multiple options to accommodate her religious beliefs, as well as offered her several roles that would have allowed her to wear her own hijab,” Brown said. “Unfortunately, she rejected all of our efforts and has since refused to come to work.”