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Should you be able to wear a hijab in the workplace?

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2021 | Employment Law

As someone who wears a hijab in everyday life, something you would prefer to do is to keep wearing it on the job. You’ve had jobs previously where you were concerned about wearing it, because you knew that people could discriminate against you because of it.

The hijab is a religious symbol, and as such, you should be able to wear it under most circumstances. If an employer forbids you from wearing it, then they could be discriminating against you and breaking the law.

Proving that you need an accommodation from the current dress code

One of the things that your employer may have in place now is a dress code that doesn’t include wearing a hijab. In most workplaces where wearing this religious garb wouldn’t endanger you or someone else due to being a safety risk, you should be able to wear it with no need to explain your deviation from the dress code.

Your employer may ask about the attire if they’re not familiar with it. You can express that it’s a religious item, and the employer should grant you an exception to the dress code, even if they don’t allow others to wear similar accessories that don’t have a religious basis.

Are there times when an employer can ask you not to wear your religious attire?

Yes. For example, if wearing the hijab would put you in harm’s way because of the risk of being pulled into machinery, then your employer may ask that you don’t wear it. In that kind of scenario, it may be worth looking into alternatives that would keep you safer, such as wearing a tighter-fitting garb or working in a role where you would not be at risk while wearing your attire.

Most employers are willing to work with their employees, especially when their attire doesn’t have anything to do with their safety or ability to work in the general work environment. If you have questions about wearing a hijab in the workplace or believe that you’ve been discriminated against for your religion, then it may be worth looking into your legal options.