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AF Bans Employee With A Headscarf In IAD  
User currently offlineju068 From Serbia, joined Aug 2009, 2579 posts, RR: 6
Posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 11277 times:

Morning,

I didn't see anyone posting this so please let me know if it was discussed before.

According to this article, Air France has not allowed a female employee at IAD to work with the headscarf as it goes against the dress-code of AF.

According to the Council of American-Islamic Relations she has been sent home since her superiors argued that her veil was breaching the dress-code of the airline.
The Council has officially asked for an apology from Air France whereas the airline had launched an official investigation into this matter.

It was not mentioned if the person was an airport or airline employee, however if her superiors (Air France employees) have sent her home then I suppose that she works for Air France.

What I do not understand is why would they need to lauch an official investigation into the matter when it should be easy for them to say if the veil is in breach of the dress code or not?

Article: (only in French sorry)
http://www.air-journal.fr/2011-06-25...se-mal-chez-air-france-531902.html

85 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinedirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1639 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 11274 times:

This is just silly.
Companies usually allow veiled female employees to wear a headscarf that is color-compatible with the rest of the uniform, so long as the scarf does not 'dominate' the appearance of the person wearing it.


User currently offlineju068 From Serbia, joined Aug 2009, 2579 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 11255 times:

Quoting directorguy (Reply 1):
This is just silly.
Companies usually allow veiled female employees to wear a headscarf that is color-compatible with the rest of the uniform, so long as the scarf does not 'dominate' the appearance of the person wearing it.

This would make even less sense if they are allowed to wear them in Paris.


User currently offlineVV701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7258 posts, RR: 17
Reply 3, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 10981 times:

This echoes the situation in 2004 when the French government introduced a law banning headscarfes from French schools:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/3328277.stm

Scroll down to:

"Q: Why is there such sensitivity to overt religious symbols in a Catholic country?"

for an interesting assessment on the background to the French headscarfe situation.

Having said the above this happened in the USA. I cannot believe that AF would try to impose French influenced culture on their employees or contractors in the USA except where it jibed with American culture.

I wonder if a somewhat over-zealous local French employee may be responsible. If so that could well require AF to conduct a quick inquiry to determine exactly what happened and why. After all we all know that the media often gets stories about commercial aviation very wrong.

Another possibility is that the media could just have got hold of totally the wrong end of the stick. This could just be a mole-hill-into-a-mountain situation. Perhaps the headscarfe in question was simply the wrong colour?


User currently offlineXT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3322 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 10931 times:

This seems kinda strange since there is more than one minority christian sect that require women to cover thier heads/hair in public. I dunno about other religions, but wouldn't be suprised if there was plenty around the globe with these kinds of restrictions for thier members.

User currently offlinekgaiflyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 4143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 10870 times:
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I may be wrong, but I don't think any of the MWAA or MAA airports allow head scarfs either at ticket counters or gates.

It's way past just AF.


User currently offlinebjorn14 From Norway, joined Feb 2010, 3281 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 10858 times:

They have totally banned headscarves in all of France (enforcement is another issue) so why not at the flag carrier. Why is this now an issue? Did AF not know she was a veil-wearing Muslim or did she just show up one day with it on after not having worn one previously?

[Edited 2011-07-11 03:22:15]


"I want to know the voice of God the rest is just details" --A. Einstein
User currently offlinedirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1639 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 10801 times:

More importantly, this woman is an employee in the US working for an EU company. So whose laws apply, US laws or French labour laws?

User currently offlineltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 12883 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 10755 times:

I believe that AF's policy against religious head coverings in their workplace, unless there is a legitimate safety reason, is illegal in the USA. I am quite sure Federal workplace agencies would quickly agree with the woman and against AF and if AF were to enforce such a policy could lead to a fine or other penalties.

The USA has well established Constitutional freedom as to religion or that their cannot be an official state faith, that has been clearly interpreted that employers cannot discriminate as to faith (or not having a faith belief) including one to wear religious head coverings. The employer must accommodate. They could require the headscarf be of certain colors that match her uniform.


User currently offlinebjorn14 From Norway, joined Feb 2010, 3281 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 10666 times:

Apparently, she was technically not an AF employee but an employee of a staffing agency hired by AF. Headscarves or religous garb have always been a contentious issue especially for customer contact employees.


"I want to know the voice of God the rest is just details" --A. Einstein
User currently offlinespinkid From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1070 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 8899 times:

I would say if she is an American citizen or living here legally and working for a contracted company, even working for AF she should have no problems wearing her headscarf.

User currently offline1stfl94 From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 1455 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 8810 times:

I would have thought the rule in this case would have been that of the country where the woman works (in this case the USA).

After all how would it work for AF employees in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia where they would be required to wear headscarves?


User currently offlinemcr From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 8640 times:
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Quoting bjorn14 (Reply 6):
They have totally banned headscarves in all of France (enforcement is another issue) so why not at the flag carrier. Why is this now an issue? Did AF not know she was a veil-wearing Muslim or did she just show up one day with it on after not having worn one previously?

I think you'll find the ban in France applies only to full face veils (the sort that make identification impossible) in public places, and not to headscarves in general (religiously motivated or otherwise). I suspect Parisian ladies of a certain age would have kicked off a new French revolution had a blanket ban on headscarves been imposed... and shares in Hermes and Chanel would have plummeted!


User currently offlineFRAIAD From Germany, joined Feb 2011, 64 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 8585 times:

I think before a country's law is completely misrepresented here, a little bit more research would be appropriate. Thanks mcr for the clarification.

User currently offlineDullesFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 8381 times:

Quoting kgaiflyer (Reply 5):
I may be wrong, but I don't think any of the MWAA or MAA airports allow head scarfs either at ticket counters or gates.

TSA has one checking tickets and passorts at security.


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21106 posts, RR: 56
Reply 15, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 8112 times:

Quoting VV701 (Reply 3):
Having said the above this happened in the USA. I cannot believe that AF would try to impose French influenced culture on their employees or contractors in the USA except where it jibed with American culture.

Why wouldn't they try to impose French-influenced culture on their employees in the US? They're a French airline, and it makes sense to have elements of French culture greeting passengers as early as check-in. Obviously they can't violate US law, but I'm not sure that banning a head scarf from the dress code crosses that line.

Quoting DullesFlyer (Reply 14):
Quoting kgaiflyer (Reply 5):
I may be wrong, but I don't think any of the MWAA or MAA airports allow head scarfs either at ticket counters or gates.

TSA has one checking tickets and passorts at security.

They have a head scarf checking tickets and passports at security?    Well, I suppose it can't do any worse....  

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlinepnd100 From Canada, joined Mar 2009, 343 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 8113 times:

For those who may not know. There is a major difference between the Hijab (headscarf) & the Niqab (face veil) in terms of security. Please note that the Holy Qu'ran does not require women to wear EITHER. It asks BOTH men & women to dress modestly but does not specify that they MUST cover their heads or faces. This is a custom that is followed by SOME people who feel this brings them closer to God by doing so.

In terms of a company policy or civil right I can see why the Niqab (face veil) would not be allowed. By not being able to view someone's face it can pose a security risk, not to mention a great deal of unease when dealing with a person. France's ban was in regards to Niqabs (Face Veils), not Hijabs (headscarves). In Canada, the Muslim Canadian Congress also supports a ban on Niqabs (Face Veils) on account of them not being a religious requirement.

However, I do not see how wearing a headscarf would undermine someone's ability to work in a customer facing role. If this is indeed the case AF should apologize. Many ground agents & flight attendants for many different airlines across the world wear colour matching headscarves.


User currently offlineDullesFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 8040 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 15):
They have a head scarf checking tickets and passports at security?

Sadly, yes.


User currently offlinemigair54 From Spain, joined Jun 2007, 1488 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 7898 times:

Air France can do if they want.... They have a dressing code so if you don´t follow or if you don´t like.... bye bye.... look for something else....

User currently offlinecrj200faguy From United States of America, joined May 2007, 395 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 7829 times:

Muslims always want to cause trouble with this stuff. I highly doubt I could wear my cross working the ek counter in dxb.

User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6114 posts, RR: 9
Reply 20, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 7661 times:

I don't know about the law in the US (or even in France, for a case like this), but considering the dress code at airlines seems pretty draconian (banning things like earrings if you're a man) I would find it strange that a headscarf could be imposed on airlines.


Quoting bjorn14 (Reply 6):
Did AF not know she was a veil-wearing Muslim or did she just show up one day with it on after not having worn one previously?

This happens all the time. Show up at the job interview with a nice brushing and make-up, then after a while on the job, when there is no possibility to easily fire the employee (French labor laws), transform into a ghost :



Quoting mcr (Reply 12):
I think you'll find the ban in France applies only to full face veils (the sort that make identification impossible) in public places, and not to headscarves in general (religiously motivated or otherwise).

That's true. Public servants, state or local, cannot wear any obvious religious sign, however (including hijabs, turbans, big visible cross, kippahs, etc.).



New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlineju068 From Serbia, joined Aug 2009, 2579 posts, RR: 6
Reply 21, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 7658 times:

Quoting migair54 (Reply 18):
Air France can do if they want.... They have a dressing code so if you don´t follow or if you don´t like.... bye bye.... look for something else....

Couldn't agree more with this. If the person is not happy with the dress code imposed by the airline it can always apply to work with another one that allows it.


User currently offlinepnd100 From Canada, joined Mar 2009, 343 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 7441 times:

Quoting migair54 (Reply 18):
Air France can do if they want.... They have a dressing code so if you don´t follow or if you don´t like.... bye bye.... look for something else....

There does come a point where an individual should take accountability I agree. There is a difference between rights & privileges & I personally feel our whole western society has become too "P.C."

Minor things like this take attention away from much more serious issues & end up creating resentment among others

Quoting crj200faguy (Reply 19):
Muslims always want to cause trouble with this stuff. I highly doubt I could wear my cross working the ek counter in dxb.

That may be true crj200faguy but why do we need to reciprocate that? Personally I work with many people who wear crosses & I also work with many people who wear headscarves. We all work in customer relations & I am proud to say that we are all professionals. Hopefully we can all move forward to an age where we are judged for what we do instead of what we wear. I hope this happens one day in DXB, IAD & elsewhere


User currently offlineEBGARN From Sweden, joined Jan 2008, 222 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 7356 times:

Quoting pnd100 (Reply 16):
However, I do not see how wearing a headscarf would undermine someone's ability to work in a customer facing role.

And I would be able to do a perfectly fine job wearing a wetsuit and a Dolphins cap at the check-in counter. But it is against the AF dressing code, so I wouldn't be allowed to wear that!

I see no reason whatsoever why religious beliefs should give a right to breach the dressing code. What would that reason be? Someones faith is private matter, and should be kept out of workplaces, schools etc. Otherwise we'll one day end up in a mad world.



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User currently offlineScottB From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6579 posts, RR: 32
Reply 24, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 7291 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 20):
I don't know about the law in the US (or even in France, for a case like this), but considering the dress code at airlines seems pretty draconian (banning things like earrings if you're a man) I would find it strange that a headscarf could be imposed on airlines.

In the U.S., "An employer is required to reasonably accommodate the religious belief of an employee or prospective employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship." (from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Therefore, AF (or any other foreign carrier employing staff in the U.S.) would have to demonstrate "an undue hardship" suffered by permitting an employee to wear a headscarf. The law might be a bit more murky with respect to employees of a contractor, which appears to be the case here, but I suspect it still applies.

Quoting ju068 (Thread starter):
What I do not understand is why would they need to lauch an official investigation into the matter when it should be easy for them to say if the veil is in breach of the dress code or not?

They most likely need to investigate to see if the dress code complies with local law.


25 pnd100 : EBGARN, I agree with you. I was just trying to show that there could have been a win-win situation here. AF could have taken a higher road than the e
26 Turkish350XWB : Well done AF. Due to the European human rights court this is NOT humiliating freedom of religion.
27 FlySSC : The AF dress code clearly states that no apparent religious sign is allowed, whether it's a scarf, a christian cross, a jewish star or anything you wa
28 sq_ek_freak : Err check again.
29 kgaiflyer : I don't know about that. In my workplace, people have been fired for letting their grooming slip. It's easy -- they *suddenly* start getting poor per
30 pnd100 : See now if this is the case then it is the employee who is at fault. If she signed the contract she is subject to it as long as it meets legal requir
31 ScottB : What an EK employee may wear on the job at DXB is immaterial; the issue here is compliance with U.S. fair employment laws.
32 pnd100 : I am assuming that it does comply with the law. I'm sure was legally checked by AF prior to issuance. If not that is very poor corporate governance.
33 WesternA318 : Anyone remember the scene from Airplane II where all the guys with machine guns and mortar launchers and the Iran Air bus with blindfolded passengers
34 pnd100 : I see this has devolved. It is unfortunate. If you really think terrorists are "their" kind then I feel sorry for you. Terrorism is pure evil, it has
35 WesternA318 : That's your opinion, and you are entitled to it. I'm not about to get into a political argument. I stated my opinion on the matter, and added my own
36 csavel : Don't know about Dubai, but you certainly could in New York, or any other place in the US. Doubt EK would care, or even if they did, they wouldn't do
37 LordMontenegro : "Their own kind"?! I really hope I have a broken sarcasm filter and you don't really believe that a Muslim working for the TSA is an automatic threat
38 pnd100 : WesternA318, with all due respect. Since when does the Constitution of the United States justify a federal agency like the TSA not permitting an Ameri
39 Post contains images lightsaber : This should be allowed. Every large company strives to standardize the customer experience. Hot dog on a stick specifies on headdress. McDonalds has
40 WesternA318 : the filter must be broken, as it is said in partial jest. However, I do not consider Muslims a threat to national security.
41 Post contains images pnd100 : Agreed lightsaber. The only thing I was suggesting was that AF could have (if they wanted to) had a sub-uniform for employees who wanted to wear a hi
42 WesternA318 : Pnd, I agree with you on this, this has to be nothing more than a money-grab...
43 747438 : Why "sadly" ?
44 bjorn14 : Ah yes, there is one of those words 'reasonable' what one person's thought of reasonable is another man's tormented prison. My wife would know. I was
45 pnd100 : That is why it is upsetting to me that both AF & the religion of Islam are having their reputations damaged. Like I stated before; 1) Headscarves
46 WesternA318 : You have no need to apologize, there need to be more people out there like you speaking your mind. I've also studied religion and atheism and have se
47 9w748capt : I thought the Sri Lankan conflict was more Tamil vs Sinhalese as opposed to Hindu vs Buddhist. Both groups have members of all religions - IIRC the l
48 usflyer msp : You must not know US employment and religious accommodation law. AF might as well start designing a sub-uniform with a hijab (for their US employees)
49 goblin211 : I think that AF didn't have a right to do this on US soil but in France, yes. France is the french's country so they have to enforce their own rules b
50 Post contains images planecrazy20 : Im not sure about DXB or EK,but you can definitely wear your cross or anything that represents your religion if you worked at KWI. and please don't s
51 pnd100 : Thank you WesternA318. I loved TWA by the way, from the romance of the Constellation to their last days with their (ultimately unfulfilled) A318 orde
52 wn700driver : Stop posting things like that! You're making us americans jealous; we're supposed to be that advanced! So then we can just consider such religious ga
53 aircanada014 : I disagree with woman who wants to wear head scarf, since when do they say its part of the uniform policy for all or most females require head scarf.
54 Grid : Employers do not have to accommodate - they have to accommodate if it would not require an undue hardship. Undue hardship is pretty broad but the bur
55 usflyer msp : It really doesn't matter what the contract says because any contract that violates law is automatically null and void. This why many employers with d
56 Post contains images pnd100 : Playing Devil's advocate I see! I think your theory has some merit. There is definitely something fishy here. You are correct. It does indeed clearly
57 ltbewr : I live in an area of Northern New Jersey with a significant number of those of the Islamic faith. It is not uncommon for a woman at a office or the c
58 psa146 : Regarding some of the issues raised in this post: 1. US law applies. 2. A similar issue has been previously litigated in 2002, See EEOC v. American Ai
59 Post contains images pnd100 : Just to clarify, there is no requirement in Islam to wear a headscarf. It is a choice. I agree with this if this is indeed the case. Let's not forget
60 Grid : What is wrong with a money grab? It's the U.S.A. If someone has been wronged, the best way to right him or her is with dough. C.R.E.A.M.
61 ferminbrif : I think It has nothing to do with a religious issue or sensitivity.... the point is that every company has "dress-code" for employeess. I have to com
62 nethkt : Totally agree. However, if the dress and/or accessories are something representing religious, I would say 'leave it at home'. Religious is preference
63 DocLightning : You're an English professor? You get into a sticky zone with that argument. There simply isn't an objective measure of what is and isn't "religious."
64 Maverick623 : If it causes undue hardship to the company, then yes, they can discriminate. The burden is on the employer to prove the hardship. A contract that is
65 jwenting : which is why the French ban does not specify any specific religion or other reason for wearing the thing, it bans them outright, all of them. No reli
66 directorguy : Good point. Now here's the thing-most people do not think that the Niqab is a requirement/written in the Qu'ran. However most people believe that the
67 Post contains images Maverick623 : First of all, you might want to get your facts straight. France only bans the wearing of the Niqab, which covers the whole face. Hijabs are only forb
68 jwenting : wrong. And you contradict yourself there as previously you stated there's no such requirement whatsoever in their scripture. Doesn't matter. The ban
69 directorguy : Re-read what I said. I agreed with a previous poster who said that hijab is not a requirement in the Qu'ran. But there are many people who do believe
70 MD11Engineer : Within the Islamic world, it largely dependes on regional customs and traditions (and also to which sub-branch of islam the person belongs to). I use
71 PanHAM : There was, many years ago, an issue with Iran Air in Frankfurt where they required that female non-muslim staff in their German offices must wear a he
72 L410Turbolet : The whole problem is that as soon as anyone starts to play the "religious sensitivity", "diversity", "acceptance" cards in the pussified world of pol
73 Post contains images Maverick623 : This has nothing to do with "sensitivity" or "diversity" or even "acceptance". This is about US laws dealing with discrimination. You don't have to l
74 Aesma : Well, the French remember when religious differences caused wars across Europe, and even civil wars. The French remember when religion ruled the peop
75 Maverick623 : In other words, you're full of crap when you talk about freedoms and human rights. Gotcha. Are not the same thing. And once in school, the kids can t
76 Aesma : Well, I have no lessons to receive from an US citizen, maybe when Guantanamo is closed and W Bush in jail. I'm sure between torture and not being abl
77 MD11Engineer : When I was working in the Republic of ireland, religious and political statements were banned (a sackable offense) on company property. The reason: We
78 DeltaMD90 : I don't see why we can't leave well enough alone here. In the US, we obviously have a different idea of freedom and society than the EU, and vice vers
79 Post contains links and images aa757first : I came across this on the EOE's website. http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/religion.html Have you ever seen a Hasidic Jew, Mennonite, Sikh or an Amish p
80 OzGlobal : This shows typical BBC francophobic and anti-Catholic stance: Factually inaccurate and ignorant: France has been officially a secular state for well
81 Maverick623 : Right... because I totally supported both torture and Dubya. If you're gonna make an attack, make sure you actually know the views of the person you'
82 Post contains links and images PanHAM : Just found this, unfortunately in German only. An Austrian insisted that he wears a spaghetti colander on his driving license photo. http://www.welt.d
83 Asturias : True, and I agree! Again, agreed! Thumbs-up! Quite so and very much important in this discussion - since it may even trump US laws accommodating reli
84 Maverick623 : Unfortunately for you, US law disagrees. Hmm... I wasn't aware that US law could be ignored because someone doesn't like it. Ah, but since you claim
85 aa757first : AF's policies do not supersede US law.
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