Virginia Woman Says She Was Fired for Wearing Hijab

Owner said religion is not allowed at his business because he wants to keep it neutral

A Northern Virginia woman says she was fired from a new job because she wore a Muslim head scarf to work. 

"I was really upset. The day that it happened, I was devastated," Najaf Khan told News4.

Khan said she was hired as a dental assistant last week at Fair Oaks Dental Care in Fairfax County.

She didn't wear the hijab at her interview or on the first two days of employment.

On her third day, she chose to wear it because she felt that she would stay at the job and wearing it was part of her spiritual journey. 

At work that day, she said the owner of Fair Oaks Dental Care, Dr. Chuck Joo, told her to take off the hijab.

Khan said Joo gave her an ultimatum: she could continue wearing the scarf and be fired or work without it.

"When I said that I would not compromise my religion for that, he held the door open for me and I walked out," Khan said.

Joo told News4 open displays of religion are not allowed at his business because he wants to keep it neutral.

If his employees want to wear a hat, it must be a surgical hat for sanitary reasons, Joo said.

The Council on American Islamic Relations responded to Khan's termination in the following statement:

"No employee should face termination because of his or her faith or religious practices. We call on Fair Oaks Dental Care to reinstate the Muslim employee and to offer her reasonable religious accommodation as mandated by law."

Khan said she would likely refuse an offer to return to the dental office because she would not want to work with someone "so close-minded."

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