A woman has been awarded more than £13,500 after she was sacked for refusing
to wear a headscarf at the estate agency where she worked.
Ghazala Khan - a non-practising Muslim - was fired less than two weeks
into her job at a company run by Muslim businessman Masood Ghafoor simply
because she refused to cover her hair.
Ghafoor told that his wife and female relatives all wore full veils or
burkas, telling her that her parents had given her far too much freedom.
A tribunal heard that Khan had been employed to run Ghafoor's Go Go Real
Estate office in Leeds, West Yorkshire, in June 2009.
However, within days of working there she was left feeling very
uncomfortable and intimidated when Ghafoor put it to her that she had
not been brought up as a good Muslim and that if she had been his
daughter she would not be allowed to work and would have been long since
He asked her to wear a headscarf at work - even though white non-Muslim
women he employed in the same office were never asked to and never did. On
the day she was due to start her third week in the job, Ghafoor told her not
to bother coming in.
When she eventually caught up with him later that evening he told her
that members of the Muslim community had been gossiping and suggested
that she was not respectable and that there might be something
going on between her and members of staff.
Ghafoor added that his cousin Shakeel, who was also employed in the
office, was unhappy working with a female especially as she did not wear a
headscarf, was not religious and was Westernised.
Graduate Miss Khan, who represented herself at the hearing in Leeds, won
her claim for discrimination on the grounds of her lack of religion or
belief, by dismissing her and sex discrimination.
She has been awarded £13,566.67 for injury to feelings, loss of earnings
and unpaid holiday pay.