Maryam’s Story

Maryam got a job as a waitress at an Italian restaurant. A few months into her employment the owners of the restaurant began subjecting her to regular and repeated verbal abuse‚ the outbursts were apparently sparked by negative media coverage of Muslims.

She was called a terrorist and a member of ISIS/ISIL, subjected to insulting comments about Allah (God) and the Prophet Muhammad, Muslims were referred to as, “bedouins” and that all Muslims are fanatics and forced people to convert to Islam.

Maryam was also told that she could not eat or bring halal meat to the accommodation arranged by the employer and that she must eat the meat which the employers provided; in particular, she was told to eat pork. To aggravate her grievances the abuse was perpetrated in front of other staff.

She protested on a number of occasions but was told in no uncertain terms that as the owners and managers of the restaurant, they could say and do as they pleased. If she objected, she would be dismissed.

As the only Muslim worker, Maryam felt unsafe. However, because she lived in accommodation provided by her employers and feared homelessness, she endured the abuse for far longer than she should have.

Eventually, IHRC Legal agreed to take up her case.

IHRC Legal was able to challenge the unlawful behaviour of her employer and secure a substantial five-figure settlement for injury to feelings and unlawful deduction of wages.


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