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Could an employer terminate/refuse employment for wearing a headscarf?

Statesville, NC |

I wear a headscarf for religious reasons (a tichel) could an employer refuse to hire me because of it? I mean like is it possible for them to write into the rules of their dress code that headcovers are not allowed?

Attorney Answers 3


Your employer may have a dress policy that precludes head scarfs. However, if wearing a hear scarf is a bone fide part of your religious practice, then your employer would need to make an exception to its policy to allow you to wear the head scarf, unless making that exception would pose an undue burden on the employer. Your employer's concerns about adverse customer or coworker perception is not an "undue burden." Good luck.

My answers to questions posted on AVVO are intended to provide general information only, and are not intended to be legal advice. Employment law issues typically require a careful case-by-case analysis. Consequently, if you feel that you need legal advice, I would encourage you to consult in person with an employment attorney in your area.

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I agree with the other attorney's answer, but the employer is only obligated to accommodate your bona fide religious dress requirement if the employer has 15 or more employees, and allowing the particular dress would not pose a safety risk or conflict with applicable OSHA requirements.

R. J. Lingle is a business and employment attorney licensed in North Carolina with many years of experience representing business owners and employees in a wide range of legal matters. The answers provided here are for general public service information only and are not intended as legal advice in a specific case or the practice of law in any jurisdiction other than North Carolina. You should consult with an experienced attorney near you to receive legal advice about your personal situation.

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If you work for a qualified employer under Title VII which is determined in part by the number of employees you are entitled to request a religious dress accommodation. You should review your specific circumstances with a locally licensed attorney such as my colleague who responded to your question. He should be able to guide you to an answer based on your specific circumstances.
Best of luck!

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