GARLAND, Texas -- Duha Dallah is a double major from the University of Texas at Dallas who was hoping for a side job just on the weekends. She applied to a nearby Dillard's for a position on the sales floor. A devout Muslim, Dallah wore her headscarf to the interview at the Dillard's in Garland in September.
"This is my identity," she said.
Duha says it was very evident during the interview that she got the job. She said roughly 10 minutes into the interview, the manager asked which departments she wanted to work in and had even talked about salary.
"They asked, 'Can you come in tomorrow at 3 o'clock for training?'" Duha recalled.
She said all seemed fine as the interview finished up. The manager was pleasant, and she was happy to land the job.
"As I was walking out, [he said] 'Oh, the headscarf is not allowed on the sales floor.' I turned around and was just [like] 'Excuse me?'" she recalled.
A complaint has now been filed with the Texas Workforce Commission against Dillard's. Nikiya Natale is her attorney with the Council on Islamic Relations.
"If you are hiring people, you need to do what you can to accommodate people's sincerely held religious beliefs," Natale said, referring to Title VII protections that prohibit employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
Duha says she returned the next day for training and was prepared to tell them she will not remove her hijab. Duha tells WFAA that this time she was met by the store manager.
"That's when she told me face-to-face. She apologized and was like, 'I'm sorry about this. The person who interviewed you was fairly new,'" Duha recalled in the conversation with the store manager.
Duha says she was ready to let the issue go. According to the complaint, she was interviewed again that very moment for a job she said she already had.
"It would have been one thing if she had apologized and then actually gave Duha the job, but they apologized and said, 'Oh, we're going to interview more candidates,'" Natale said.
WFAA sent the complaint to Dillard's multiple times over a one-week span. After many calls and emails, the department store's one response was that they haven't received the official complaint.
"I'm probably not the first woman with a headscarf who is going to apply there, but I will be the first to speak up about it," Duha said.
Many weeks later, she still hasn't received any call backs from a job she thought she had. Duha says at this point, she would not seek employment at the department store after her experience.
She says for now she will just focus on school.
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