McDonald’s worker ‘sexually harassed by managers asking her if she was a virgin’

A Muslim woman in the United States is suing a branch of McDonald's after claiming she was sexually harassed and mocked for her religious beliefs.

Diamond Powell, 28, from Baltimore, Maryland, worked at the fast-food outlet for a year before she converted from Christianity to Islam in early 2017.

She claims managers and co-workers at the restaurant was based at Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, subjected her to religious discrimination after she converted.

Diamond began legal action according to court documents against her former employer Susdewitt Management LLC of Lanham, Maryland and is being backed by lawyers from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, according to local reports.

Speaking at an online press conference on Thursday alongside her lawyers, Powell said: "No Muslim woman should ever, ever experience what I went through, and I hope this lawsuit will help other Muslim women."

It's claimed problems began for the Morgan State University graduate when Powell began wearing a hijab to work in February 2017, The MailOnline report.

Her suit claims a manager announced "take that hoodie off" when she walked in while another mocked her for wanting to pray to Allah during the day, allegedly saying "You don't have to wait for God to wake up for you to pray".

Her five daily prayer breaks were initially granted by management but it was said to have been made difficult for her.

The general manager allegedly told her she had to in a dirty stock room, instead of outside the restaurant.

When she refused the manager allegedly knocked back her permissions telling her "God will understand," the lawsuit states.

It was then Powell resigned from the role in April 2018 as she was unwilling to sacrifice her religious beliefs.

The suit also claims Powell was sexually harassed at work, with several managers and co-workers asking her if she was a virgin and a shift manager making lewd remarks

Her suit accuses Susdewitt Management of violating employment laws outlined in the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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Susdewitt Management owner Isaac Green disputed the lawsuit but said the company is reviewing the accusations against it.

"We pride ourselves on our diverse workforce, and we have policies in place to provide a welcoming workplace and to respect the accommodations employees may need for religious reasons," the company said in a statement provided by a McDonald's spokeswoman.

According to Zainab Chaudry, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Maryland office, it is not uncommon for Muslim women to have experienced hostile work environments because of their faith.

She said: "Unfortunately, this disturbing case is a glaring reminder of the challenges that Muslim employees often face within the workplace."

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