EEOC: Old City Bar Fired Employee For Muslim Headscarf

A worker claims a "no hoodies" policy violated her religious rights.



An Old City bar is being accused of firing an employee because she wore a Muslim headscarf.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a complaint in U.S. District Court against Rotten Ralph’s Restaurant at Second and Market Streets.

The complaint alleges that Tia Rollins, a server, was not permitted to wear her headscarf (called a khimar) at work. She was hired in 2013 and didn’t wear the headscarf at the job interview, but wore it during her first few few shifts, the complaint says.

When she first worked with General Manager Sharwin Coates, he allegedly “expressed outrage” when he saw her wearing the headscarf — and she was fired that evening, the complaint says.

Rotten Ralph’s “stated that employees could not wear ‘hoodies’ at work and therefore Rollins’ khimar was impermissible,” court documents say. The EEOC says that the company should have made an exception to its “no hoodies” policy to accommodate her religious beliefs.

The EEOC wants backpay for Rollins as well as compensation for her emotional pain and suffering.

Rotten Ralph’s (named in the court case as Half Shell Inn Inc.) did not immediately return a request for comment.

There is some legal precedent here. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the EEOC and Samantha Elauf, a Muslim woman who was denied a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch store in Oklahoma because she wore a headscarf.