x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Muslim employee sues Armani Exchange over beard order

Store's management told him to shave his beard or face suspension.

DUBAI // A Muslim employee of an Armani Exchange store in Dubai says he was unfairly ordered to shave his beard or be suspended.

HA, 25, a Syrian, told the Court of Appeal today he deserved more than the Dh21,743 he was awarded in the case by the Labour Court of First Instance. He said his total benefits due amounted to Dh59,425.

HA was told in Febraury that he must shave his beard to meet the company's grooming standards. He refused, saying it was his right as a Muslim to have a beard.

The company then responded it would put him on leave without pay until he complied.

HA filed a complaint with the Ministry of Labour, which, according to court records, told Armani Exchange it had no right to ask its employees to shave their beards.

After the case was referred to the Labour Court of First Instance, HA testified that when he returned to work, he was ordered to leave and told that for every day he showed up with a beard, he would be issued a warning – and then fired.

When he arrived the next day, the store manager called police and suspended him.

In court today he said the company still held his passport.

The judge said the next hearing would be on July 3, giving HA time to translate his supporting documents into Arabic.

amustafa@thenational.ae