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The woman says she was told not to wear her face veil after Catholic customers complained her being a Muslim would scare the residents.
The woman was told she could still wear her traditional long skirt and arm-covering shirt, but drew the line at the hijab, according to the lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The company was number 78 on Forbes’ America’s Best Large Employers 2017 list.
Antoinette Jackson began working as a caregiver for Home Instead Senior Care, a worldwide nursing home services provider, in early 2016 she was a practicing Muslim.
“In observance of her Islamic faith, at work, she typically wore a blouse, long skirt or dress, and a hijab,” the complaint states. “[Home Instead] was fully aware and on notice of [her] regular attire, and that her faith required that she wear a hijab,” it continues.
According to the complaint, things were going fine until Jackson’s boss texted her shortly before she was scheduled to meet a potential client, asking her to wear “street clothes.” Jackson says she was previously told that the purpose of the meeting was so that the potential client could determine whether or not her clothing was acceptable.
According to the complaint, Jackson was also previously told by a former Catholic client of Home Instead’s that she would, “scare the residents being Muslim and wearing a long dress.”
Jackson says she asked her boss if she could just wear her regular clothes, however she was told she could wear the shirt and long skirt, but not the hijab.
“[Jackson] ultimately confirmed/understood that [Home Instead] required that she dress in a way to conceal her Muslim faith,” the complaint states. “In that same regard, [Jackson] was forced to face the discriminatory reality that [Home Instead] considered and thought that wearing a hijab and/or anything that would indicate she were a Muslim would not make her ‘professional in appearance,'” it continues.
Jackson says that Home Instead’s behavior suggests that they while they see Muslim garb as unacceptable, they do not see any problem with forcing an employee to hide one’s faith.
According to the complaint, Jackson was fired shortly after the incident after “voicing her apprehension regarding attending a meeting with someone who was scrutinizing her religious observance, and her employer being compliant with such scrutiny,” the complaint states.
She now sues her former employer on a single count of religious discrimination. She is represented by attorney Anthony Giletto of Kraemer, Manes & Associates LLC. The presiding judge has not yet been determined, as the case has not yet been assigned or designated.
Dan Wieberg, Public Relations Manager for Home Instead, did not return a message requesting comment.