State employee claims Delaware discriminates against her over hijab

News

Madinah Brown, speaking to reporters Thursday, says her supervisors ask her to remove her hijab or go home.

Full credit: Courtesy Council on American-Islamic Relations

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

A Delaware woman says she was prevented from wearing a hijab at her state job, according to a discrimination complaint filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Madinah Brown says supervisors have prevented her from working at the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families because of her head scarf. The complaint was filed Thursday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Brown, who has been with the department since 2012, claims one of her supervisors told her she was “looking like a terrorist” in the presence of other employees in August.

At a press conference Thursday, Brown said she has been without her regular salary for four months. When she arrives at work, she says she is asked to remove the scarf or clock out and leave the office. Because of that, she has only worked sporadically and has received paychecks as low as $1.

“This has been very hard for me and my family,” she said. “I just want answers.”

Without addressing her specific claim, the department issued a statement Thursday saying it champions religious expression and provides religious items such as Qurans and prayer rugs in its locations.

“The situation is more complicated when the safety of our staff and our youth is impacted by a proposed deviation from policy,” the statement said.

“We must carefully balance our strong support of religious freedom with the need to keep youth and staff safe. In some instances, a person’s job may require them to do certain actions, such as the physical restraint of a youth, that makes wearing some religious clothing unsafe. In those instances, the Department would entertain alternative or modified clothing, as long as the safety risks are mitigated. We would urge anyone with concerns to follow our accommodation process and make efforts to reach a mutually agreeable and safe compromise.”

CAIR Staff Attorney, Zanah Ghalawanji, says she does not believe the state agency is prohibiting Brown from wearing the hijab because it’s a security issue.

“Madinah has been wearing her hijab without incident,” Ghalawanji told CNN Friday.

“There are employees who wear lanyards around their necks and another employee who wore a headwrap for a couple of years and wasn’t made to remove that headwrap until they started cracking down on Madinah. It’s just a shame to see a single mother put in a position where she has to choose between her faith and supporting her family.”

Brown and CAIR are waiting for the EEOC to conduct its investigation, saying they hope the state agency would be open to mediation. Once the EEOC comes back with its findings, CAIR and Brown will decide if they will file a lawsuit.

Trademark and Copyright 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

Popular

Latest News

More News