Muslim woman says Garland store refused to hire her for wearing hijab

A Muslim woman says a Garland department store denied her a job because of the way she was dressed.

The woman claims the hijab she wears for religious reasons kept her from the job, so she filed a complaint with the state.

When Duha Dallah walked into Dillard's for an interview in September, she says she was offered the job but was told she wouldn't be allowed to wear her headscarf while working. Now, she's taking on Dillard's in a discrimination complaint in hopes it doesn't happen to anyone else.

Duha Dallah went to interview for a job at Dillard's at Firewheel Town Center in Garland in September.

“Everything went fine,” she said. “She was nice. We agreed on pay. She was just going to speak to the manager and let me know which department needed help most.”

Dallah says she was told to come in the next day for training.

“And as I was walking out she was like, ‘By the way, the scarf won't be allowed on the sales floor,’’ she recalled. “I turned around. I was just like, ‘Excuse me?’”

Dallah says she wears her hijab for religious reasons and immediately called her older sister for advice. She says her sister called the store and another store manager apologized, saying the employee who interviewed Dallah was new. But when Dallah returned the next day for training, she says she was interviewed again and then told they'd call if they were interested in hiring her.

“In my head, I already got the job yesterday,” she said. “So I'm just thinking like this is ridiculous. You're lying to my face.”

Dallah contacted the Council on American Islamic Relations and an attorney who helped her file a discrimination complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission last month.

“Whether you are Muslim or Christian or Jewish, you have the right to have your employer accommodate your sincerely-held religious beliefs so that you can both practice your religion and work,” said Christine Hopkins, an employment law attorney.

Dillard’s wouldn't comment on this incident but a spokesperson said, “It is Dillard's longstanding policy to accommodate religious beliefs in all areas of employment, including dress code requirements."

Hopkins says an investigation into Dallah’s complaint could take three to six months. Dillard's could have to change their policies or pay damages if the store is in the wrong.

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