Chinese restaurant accused of being racist after a staff member told a Muslim woman who was applying for a job to take off her hijab if she wants to be accepted to work there.
An 18-year-old-girl named Alishba said that she accompanied her mother to Peony Golden Court in a Tin Shui Wai shopping mall last Sunday to apply for a job. After discussing salary and working hours, the staff agreed to hire her mother, surnamed Khan, for a dishwashing position on the condition that she had to remove her hijab at work.
Khan, 42, convinced the staff that she would wear the kitchen uniform but still keeping a tight-fitting version of the headdress on for religious reasons, however, the staff rejected that request.
Alishba and her brother confronted and accused the staff of being prejudice towards their mother. As shown in a video posted to Instagram by Alishba, an employee repeatedly denied being discriminatory, added that because the restaurant is in Chinese style, the hijab cannot be worn there.
Alishba said her mother was allowed to wear a hijab in her previous job and was even encouraged to cover her hair for hygiene reasons.
A manager, surnamed Long, defended the staff, saying that wearing a hijab in the kitchen would endanger a safety hazard.
Long added that Alishba and her brother misunderstood and thought the staff was discriminating against them. She continues saying that they welcome any applicants regardless of ethnicity especially because dishwashing positions are hard to fill.
However, Alisha said that the restaurant did not mention safety reasons when asking her mother to remove the hijab during the job interview.
Long also said that the presence of Alisha’s brother in the restaurant makes the staff felt frightened. Alisha explained that her brother came later to bring their mother’s vaccination record as required for the job application.
Alishba has submitted complaints to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and the Labor Department.
Alishba is also working on the case with a teaching assistant, who filed a discrimination complaint in June against a school after a teacher asked a Muslim primary student to removed her headscarf because it is unsanitary.
They plan to take legal action against the restaurant to raise awareness of racism in the city.