Chipotle in Kansas sued after manager allegedly pulled employee’s hijab off after harassing her about it

Chipotle has been sued by a federal agency that accused the restaurant chain of religious harassment and retaliation after one of the location’s managers in Kansas apparently took off an employee’s hijab.

In a lawsuit that was filed on Wednesday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims that in 2021, an assistant manager at a Chipotle in Lenexa, Kansas, repeatedly asked an employee to remove her hijab. When she refused, he grabbed and partially removed the headscarf, per the Associated Press.

The complaint went on to say that the manager’s “offensive and incessant requests” for the female employee to remove her hijab were “unwelcome, intentional, severe, based on religion, and created a hostile working environment based on religion.”

Subsequently, Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s chief corporate affairs officer, said that the company encourages employees to report any concerns they may have, including making comments through an anonymous hotline.

“We have a zero tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind and we have terminated the employee in question,” she said in an email, according to the report.

The harassment apparently started in July 2021, when the manager of the restaurant asked the employee to remove her hijab so that he could see her hair. According to the complaint that was made, the manager reportedly asked to see the woman’s hair more than 10 times over the course of a single month.

She refused on every occasion, citing that she wore it because of her religious beliefs.

After the harassment continued, the female employee complained to another supervisor that the incidents had made her feel uncomfortable. However, there was no further action taken against the manager, according to the report.

Then, one evening in August 2021, the manager allegedly reached out and partially removed the hijab from the employee’s head. The employee put in her two-week notice the following day.

The complaint noted that the woman was not scheduled for any of her regular shifts within that two-week period, even though other non-Muslim employees were regularly scheduled who had also put in their two-week notice.

The lawsuit claims that Chipotle was in violation of federal rights laws that protect employees and job applicants from any kind of discrimination that is based on religion, race, ethnicity, sex, or national origin.

The report noted that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would like Chipotle to institute policies that provide equal employment opportunities for all employees, no matter their religious affiliation. They are also asking that the restaurant pay damages to the employee.

Muslim teen speaks out after harassment at Lenexa Chipotle

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