A Muslim woman has filed a discrimination suit against a national chain of jewelry stores, alleging that she was "enthusiastically" recruited to return to work at a Fairfield shop in 2006 but then turned away after managers saw she had begun to wear a head scarf.
Shereen Attia, who studies nutrition at California State University, Sacramento, had previously worked part time for two Whitehall Jewellers stores at the Westfield Solano Mall in Fairfield beginning in December 2004.
"I felt betrayed, and this has made me less confident in applying for any job now," said Attia, a 24-year-old U.S. citizen of Italian American and Egyptian descent.
The suit was filed by the San Francisco law firm of Minami Tamaki and the nonprofit Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, which considers Attia's alleged treatment the continuation of a pattern of "post-9/11 backlash discrimination" nationwide.
Joan Ehrlich, San Francisco district director of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said Attia's case "seems clear-cut to me."
"It's just not acceptable, and it's just not lawful," Ehrlich said, to recruit job applicants and turn them down because of religious conviction or attire.
"I certainly hope the employer will come to his senses and settle this," said Ehrlich, whose office investigates discrimination claims.
Robert Nachwalter, Whitehall senior vice president and general counsel, said the Chicago-based company's policy "is not to comment on litigation." [Link]
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