Madinah Brown says supervisors prevented her from working in the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families because of her headscarf. The complaint was submitted Thursday to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Brown, who has worked in the department since 2012, says one of her supervisors said she was "looking like a terrorist" in the presence of other employees in August.
At a news conference on Thursday, Brown said he has been without a regular salary for four months. When she arrives at work, she says she is asked to remove her scarf or watch and leave the office. Because of this, she only worked sporadically and earned salaries as low as $ 1.
Without addressing its specific claim, the department issued a statement Thursday saying it advocates religious expression and provides religious items such as Qurans and prayer rugs at their locations.
"The situation is more complicated when the security of our staff and our youth is affected by a proposed deviation from policy," the statement said.
“We need to carefully balance our strong support for religious freedom with the need to keep youth and staff safe. In some cases, a person's job may require them to do certain actions, such as the physical restraint of a young woman, who does some people insecure clothing. In such cases, the Department would be provided with alternative or modified clothing as long as the security risks are mitigated. "
CAIR lawyer Zanah Ghalawanji says she does not believe the state agency is banning Brown from wearing the hijab because it is a security issue.
"Madinah is wearing her hijab without incident," Ghalawanji told CNN on Friday.
"There are employees who wear lanyards around their neck and another employee who wore a headgear for a few years and was not required to remove it until it began to crack down on Madinah. It's a shame to see a single mom put a position in which she has to choose between your faith and support your family. "
Brown and CAIR are waiting for EEOC to conduct their investigation, saying they expect the state agency to be open to mediation. When the EEOC returns with its findings, CAIR and Brown will decide whether to file a lawsuit.
CNN's Jay Croft contributed to this report.
. (tagsToTranslate) us (t) State official claims Delaware discriminates against her because of hijab – CNN