Being Muslim in America – The story of Imane Boudlal

Discriminatory employment practices can be influenced by certain societal factors such as national culture. National cultures varies between countries and have been categorized according to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions such as power distance, uncertainty avoidance, collectivism and individualism, masculinity, indulgence and long-term orientation. Buckley, Halbesleben & Wheeler, (2016, pp. 122) defines power distance as value which differentiates individuals, groups, organizations and nations in regard with the degree to which inequality can be accepted as unavoidable or functional. The extent to which organizations are embedded in culture characterized by high power distance are more prone to instances of gender discriminations.

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In the case of Imane Boudlal (CAIRtv, 2010), there is a relatively higher power distance embedded within Disney. Since U.S is a country of relatively lower power distance, all people feel an entitlement to certain level of power, and since this is not the case in the organization, it caused feeling of discrimination experienced by Imane.

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            My opinion regarding the case about the company and Imane, the complainant is right. Although the need to have specific code of uniform should be respected as the organization policy, there is need to ensure this does not violate individual employee rights. The complainant should be allowed to wear the Hijab, since it is her Muslim symbol of faith, which is similar to the cross being worn by Christians. In barring her from wearing it would amount to a case of workplace discrimination and a violation of employment equal opportunity.     

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I can imagine how it feels to be in Ms. Imane Boudlal’s position; it feels so awful and really demoralizing. I would not imagine being in a situation where my colleagues, who have other faith, are allowed freedom with their faith in the workplace, whereas mine is considered unwanted in my workplace. As a culturally sensitive organization, Disney ought to design their workplace policies in order to accommodate all dimensions including religion. This should allow for specific symbols as long as it does not hinder workplace performance.

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