Najaf Khan was hired as a dental assistant at Fair Oaks Dental Care in Fairfax County last week. She did not wear the hijab at her interview or on the first two days of employment.
“I was really upset. The day that it happened, I was devastated,” NBC Washington quoted Khan as saying.
On her third day, she chose to wear the hijab as she felt that she would stay at the job and wearing it was part of her spiritual journey.
According to NBC Washington, Khan said that Dr. Chuck Joo, the owner of Fair Oaks Dental Care, told her to take off the hijab and 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 added.
Joo told the media that pen displays of religion were 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 added.
The Council on American Islamic Relations responded to Khan’s termination and said, “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 as she would not want to work with someone “so close-minded”.