Lenexa employee says Chipotle deputy manager took off her hijab

LENEXA, Kan. – A teenage girl working at Chipotle said her manager took off her hijab at work. Now this man is fired and could face criminal charges.

It happened in July and now the young woman is speaking up. FOX4 spoke to her on Tuesday about how she felt violated and the teenager hopes speaking up will prevent it from happening to anyone else.

Chipotle at Lenexa is hiring. Recently they lost two employees. One was fired and another resigned.

Areej Saifan said his assistant manager removed his hijab from his head.

“He kept asking to see my hair,” she said. “I kept telling him to stop and no and I just tried to ignore him. So I went back to work and he just came up behind me, pulled my scarf, and I really didn’t no idea what anyone could do, like do that.

It happened in July. The 19-year-old said she immediately told her parents and the general manager about it. For days she said she had heard nothing.

” He laughed. He was laughing like it was something funny,” Saifan said. “When I was just shocked. I just turned around and looked at him like what just happened?”

She said a colleague of hers stood up for her at the time and told the man never to do that again. She works with the Kansas Council on American-Islamic Relationswho helped her find a lawyer and an answer from Chipotle.

“We need to make sure this never happens to anyone in their workplace again,” said Moussa Elbayoumy of CAIR Kansas. “We will take all necessary measures. The first step was to get legal representation to represent her and we have already filed the complaint with the EEOC, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and will await the investigation.

Saifan has also filed a report with Lenexa Police and is awaiting their investigation. She hopes her experience will let others know that if you’re being discriminated against at work, it’s important to speak up.

“I want people to understand that it’s not the right thing to do,” she said. “I don’t want this to happen to me, or especially to anyone else. Of course, you know, it’s not just about being respectful to fellow Muslims, to any religion, anyone, everyone has different beliefs and religious choices. And you have to respect that you have to adapt to that.

Chipotle fired the assistant manager and said in a statement, “We have a zero-tolerance policy for any form of discrimination and terminated the employee in question nearly two weeks ago following a thorough investigation. “.

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