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Muslim Sues British Hair Salon Over Headscarf

April 16, 2008

Sarah Desrosiers (left) Bushra Noah (right)

A case in London has a Muslim woman pitted against a British born hair salon owner, with civil charges of discrimination being levied against the latter by the former.

The Muslim woman, Bushra Noah, sued hair salon owner, Sarah Desrosiers, for not hiring her to work in her hair salon. The salon owner declined her application, stating her headscarf did not fit with the cutting edge image of the salon.

As you can see from the photo posted above, the salon owner has modern fuchsia highlights in her hair. I think she was within her right to decline anyone she did not want to hire.

While I do not believe in religious insensitivity, as a general rule in all democracies, when you apply for a job, you are not guaranteed anything. That’s how it’s been for quite some time. You put in the application and wait, as no one is obligated to hire anyone they do not deem the best qualified or properly suited to the position.

Similarly, if you want to become a singer and go to a record label anywhere in the world, they have the right to decline you if they feel you don’t have the right sound or image. The entire hiring/signing process is subjective. They are not obligated to hire anyone.

Discrimination is when you go into a restaurant and they refuse to serve you based on religion or race. Still, some restaurants have a policy they post at the door, stating you must wear shirt and shoes – lest they decline you admittance for failing to observe the dress code. They are legally within their right to do so regarding the latter.

This case was not based in discrimination or segregation, and sadly, a business may go under in being sued for something that is not illegal or unethical.

‘Headscarf doesn’t fit our funky image’ says salon owner who turned down Muslim stylist

The owner of a fashionable hair salon today denied being a racist after turning down a headscarf-wearing Muslim who applied for a stylist’s job.

Sarah Desrosiers, 32, told a tribunal it was vital that all her staff show off “flamboyant” haircuts at the Wedge salon in King’s Cross.

And Miss Desrosiers, from Hackney, said 19-year-old Mrs Bushra Noah’s headscarf was out of keeping with the “ultra-modern, urban, edgy and funky” style of her business.

The salon owner added she adopted a cutting-edge hair style on entering the industry which she says is essential to work as a stylist.

Miss Desrosiers told Central London Employment Tribunal that Mrs Noah’s religious beliefs played no part in her decision to turn the then 18-year-old down in March last year.

“I am not a racist and I do not discriminate against anyone on any grounds, not least of all race, religion or belief. I have no prejudice against Muslims or any other religion for that matter. My hair salon is unique in the area where I work and is seen and perceived as an alternative salon. Anyone who works in my salon would be expected to help with the promotion of the salon. If an employee in my salon wore any type of head covering I would ask them to remove it.”

Mrs Noah is claiming £34,000 in compensation for religious discrimination from Miss Desrosiers, who says she faces financial ruin if she loses the case.


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