Malaysia: Workers complain against discriminatory no-headscarf policy of some hotels

Author: Mei Mei Chu, Jakarta Post, Published on: 19 November 2017

"Malaysia hotel industry in the spotlight over no-headscarf uniform policy", 11 November 2017

The hotel industry...is under the spotlight over complaints that some female employees are not allowed to wear headscarves while at work.

The Union Network International-Malaysia Labour Centre (UNI-MLC) said...that it has received numerous complaints from female hotel employees saying that their management does not allow them to wear a headscarf at work. 

UNI-MLC said students in hospitality and tourism courses have also been instructed to remove their headscarves before going on internships or the company would not hire them.

As a result, some employees have no choice but to remove their headscarf during work...

“This policy is practiced in international hotel chains that use the same standard operating procedure on uniforms in all the hotels in their chain globally,” its chairman Samuel Cheah Swee Hee said.

He added that there are many other employment opportunities for Muslim employees including working in the backhouse or choosing to work with one of the many hotels that incorporate the headscarf in its uniform.

"The problem is everyone wants to join the 5-star global hotel brand, but they do not want to follow the uniform policy that is their worldwide standard," he said.

However, the International Women’s Alliance for Family Institution and Quality Education (Wafiq) sees the ban as discriminatory and unnecessary, questioning the need for such restrictions in Muslim-majority Malaysia.

UNI-MLC has urged the Human Resources Ministry to address this issue and come up with a guideline to avoid any form of discrimination amongst women in the hotel industry.

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