UPDATE: Peppermill changes headwear policy after hijab incident

UPDATE: The Peppermill Resorts released a statement Dec. 1 about a change in policy.
 
"On Friday, November 25, a customer walked into the Peppermill’s Fireside Lounge in Las Vegas wearing a Muslim hijab head covering.

The Peppermill’s Fireside Lounge has a long-standing policy that prohibits hats and headwear of all kinds because of past gang activity in the area. The policy was put in place only for the Peppermill’s Fireside Lounge
location, and is not a corporate policy. It was meant to ensure the safety of all Fireside Lounge customers. The policy had a clear, long-standing religious exemption, but because of a recent miscommunication, this exemption was not followed correctly.

Because of this misunderstanding of the exemptions under the policy, Fireside Lounge employees requested that the customer 
remove her hijab.

The Peppermill deeply regrets this request and apologizes for asking a customer to remove a head covering that was clearly exempted from the policy.

Because of this unfortunate incident, the Peppermill team has had an opportunity to review the Fireside Lounge’s headwear policy and has decided it is no longer necessary. All corporate Peppermill policies and individual policies of other Peppermill properties have never prohibited headwear or head coverings. The Peppermill has taken swift action to remove this Fireside Lounge policy to ensure that no future miscommunications occur and that it complies with Peppermill corporate policy."

 
ORIGINAL STORY

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) --  A Muslim woman is forced to choose between her religion and a meal with family on the Las Vegas Strip.
 
"I wear a hijab all day and I see hundreds of thousands of customers and I've never been treated like that ever," said Louvenia Daan, a woman who wears a head covering because of her religious beliefs.
 
A few days ago, Daan says she heard something she'd never heard before.
 
"She said 'Oh I'm sorry that I called it the wrong thing, but you can't wear that in here,'" said Daan.
 
She says she was at the Fireside Lounge, inside the Peppermill Restaurant on Las Vegas Boulevard, when a waitress asked her to take off her hijab. She tried to explain to the staff why she couldn't.
 
"It's like telling a woman to stand in front of a bunch of people and be completely naked, like it's a horrible, horrible thing," said Daan.
 
The Peppermill employees wouldn't budge so she left.
 
One of the managers at the restaurant and lounge says the no-headdress policy is in place for security reasons: No one can wear anything that would cover their heads inside the Fireside Lounge. It's so that the surveillance cameras catch the entire face.
 
"It opens the door for this kind of bullying in public spaces where religious people aren't permitted," said Fateen Seifullah, a Las Vegas mosque leader.
 
Over the phone, a Peppermill manager said this policy is only in place on the Strip and only in the Fireside Lounge. They've stood by it for 10 years, saying they've asked other Muslim women to take off their head coverings, and asked people of the Jewish faith to remove their yarmulkes.
 
"It's a huge deal for those who have committed themselves to it. It's an unthinkable crime you might say," said Seifullah.
 
Peppermill did post an apology on Daan's Facebook after it became aware of what happened and called the incident a "miscommunication." However, Louvenia says she's reaching out to the ACLU to see if they have legal grounds to change the policy.

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