Nursing home refused to let worker wear hijab, EEOC says

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A provider refused to let a Muslim woman wear a hijab, the government charges.
A provider refused to let a Muslim woman wear a hijab, the government charges.

An Alabama nursing home faces a lawsuit for allegedly refusing to allow a Muslim employee to wear a hijab.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a workplace discrimination lawsuit against Shadescrest Health Care Center, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility located in Jasper, AL. It is seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an act of prohibition of further discrimination. A Shadescrest representative declined to comment on the case.

Shadescrest hired Tracy Martin, a Muslim woman, as a certified nursing assistant in August 2012, according to the lawsuit. About a week later, Martin reportedly wore a hijab and was told to “remove the head covering or be subject to termination,” the EEOC stated.  

Martin filed a discrimination complaint with the EEOC but was fired weeks after Shadescrest received notice of the action, the agency says. The EEOC contends that Martin was terminated “in retaliation” for her filed complaint and attempts to exercise her religious rights. 

The EEOC charges that Shadescrest violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees from religious discrimination in the workplace and termination as a result of filing a complaint with the EEOC. 


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