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Muslim Nursery Worker Loses Appeals Case After Gown Deemed A 'Tripping Hazard'

A nursery worker has failed to win her appeal to wear a jilbab, a type of Islamic dress, to work after a judge ruled it unsafe for children and staff in the nursery. ​

Tamanna Begum, a Sunni Muslim, was interviewed and offered an apprenticeship at the Barley Lane Montessori Day Nursery in Ilford, Essex, England, in 2011, reports Daily Mail. She went to the interview in a head-to-toe jilbab.

Her interviewer, the manager of the nursery, asked Begum if she could wear a jilbab whose length would not pass her feet when at work. Begum told her interviewer that she would discuss the matter with her family.

The nursery, reports The Telegraph, expecting Begum to begin working there, was confused when she did not arrive on her first day.

Begum had filed a claim for religious discrimination with the East London employment tribunal, saying that dressing in a shorter garment goes “against her morals and beliefs.”

After reviewing her case, the tribunal ruled the gown to be a tripping hazard.

Begum later appealed the ruling, but was told once again by the Employment Appeal Tribunal that her jilbab was “reasonably regarded as a tripping hazard” by the nursery, reports The Telegraph.

Judge Daniel Serota QC pointed out that Begum was not barred from wearing the jilbab, but was instead asked to wear a jilbab of a different length.

“At no point was she told that she could not wear a jilbab while working at the nursery,” said Serota, referring to the original tribunal’s ruling.

According to the Daily Mail, 16 of the nursery’s staff workers include four Muslim women who wear hijabs, Muslim headscarves, and are given time to pray and to observe Ramadan.

A representative from the National Secular Society said the case concerned the safety of staff and children at the nursery.

“The employer made a very reasonable, practical request and we are pleased to see the judge sliding with them,” said the NSS spokesperson.

Sources: The Independent, The Telegraph, Daily Mail

Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn via Flickr


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