A Muslim server in Ocala, Florida, says that he was fired from his job at a Denny's restaurant for refusing to remove his head covering. He has now filed a discrimination complaint and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is investigating his allegations.
Marlondejaun Guy, a U.S. citizen originally from Trinidad, says that his managers at Denny's repeatedly asked him to remove his head covering, called a kufi, and refused to give him daytime hours if he did not, Ocala.com reports.
In a video shared online (shown below), Guy says that his manager told him, "If you get rid of that hat, I promise I will give you day hours."
Guy, a husband and father, adds that he wanted to work the day shift because during the night shift he only made a fraction of what daytime workers made, and he was struggling to get by and provide for his family. He repeatedly asked his managers for daytime hours, but they say they would not let him if he continued to wear the kufi.
One day, Guy traded a day shift with another employee and was sent home within 45 minutes.
"He's only to be working at night," a manager said, reprimanding the manager who approved the swap.
Last year, a manager of the Denny's allegedly sent Guy a letter threatening termination because he violated the company's dress code.
"It is with great sadness that I must tell you that if you do not conform to the proper dress code within 14 days, we will have to terminate your employment with the company," the letter read, according to Guy.
Guy was later fired.
Guy's attorney, Michael Hanna, said that if the allegations are true, the letter gives them direct evidence of the discrimination against Guy. Guy has filed a discrimination complaint with the EEOC.
The franchise owner said that the company maintains policies against discrimination, Ocala.com reports.
"We do follow the brands standards regarding restaurant uniforms and uniform accommodation requests," the franchise owner, EYM Diner LLC, said in a statement. "The allegations made by Mr. Guy do not contain all the facts and do not reflect the real reason for termination. We are confident that in a legal proceeding we will be cleared of any discrimination."
Guy said that the small amount of money he made working the night shifts left him unable to pay his electricity bill. After being fired, he moved his family into a women's shelter, sleeping in his car while his wife and daughter slept inside so his daughter could have access to electricity for her breathing machine. She had to have seven to 10 breathing treatments per day to treat her severe asthma and bronchitis.
Guys says that thanks to community support, he has been able to move back home, but that "money is running out very quickly."
A GoFundMe account was created to help support Guy and his family while the EEOC continues their investigation.
Photo Credit: Screenshot via YouTube