London, June 18 : A British employment tribunal panel has awarded 4,000 pounds to a Muslim teenage hairdresser as compensation for "injury to feelings" after she was declined a job for wearing a headscarf.
Dismissing the claim of a religious discrimination put by 19-year-old Bushra Noah; the tribunal upheld her complaint of indirect discrimination.
In its judgement on Monday, the tribunal said it accepted Noah had not been treated differently because of her Muslim headscarf, but that it doubted there was as severe a risk to the business by employing someone wearing a head covering as the owner believed.
Bushra Noah said salon owner Sarah Desrosiers religiously discriminated against her when she was turned down for a job.
But Desrosiers said Noah was turned down because she needed stylists to reflect the funky, urban image of her salon and showcase alternative hairstyles.
Desrosiers, 32, said: "I feel it is a bit steep for what actually happened. It's really scary for a small business. I never in a million years dreamt that somebody would be completely against the display of hair and be in this industry. I don't feel I deserve it," The Sun quoted her, as saying.
Desrosiers added that if an applicant had a conventional hairstyle she would insist that it was re-styled in a more "alternative" way.
The tribunal said that Desrosiers and Noah had a 15-minute interview last May at her Wedge salon in London's King's Cross.
But when the 19-year-old applicant arrived at the salon she claimed that the Canadian salon owner was clearly shocked by the fact she wore a headscarf.
Desrosiers told the tribunal she was surprised that the younger woman had not mentioned it earlier.
Both parties told the tribunal it was obvious that the 19-year-old would not be offered the job.
But the tribunal panel awarded Noah compensation as they concluded it was not known how her headscarf would affect the business.