“A few weeks later I received another call from the recruitment agency, who said they had a bit of bad news,” she said. “Santa Maria had double checked their hygiene policy and therefore couldn’t employ me.”
The recruiter told her she could keep the position if she took off her veil during work hours.
“I was totally speechless. I asked the person on the phone to repeat what she said, then told her I wasn’t going to throw away my identity to work in the factory,” she said. “That’s where the conversation ended”.
A Santa Maria representative has since denied the claims, blaming it on communication error between the company and the recruitment agency.
“We have a rule that clothing should pose no risk to safety and that hair should be covered, which a veil of course does very effectively,” explained Eva Berglie, Head of Communication at Santa Maria.
“This was a premature decision down to a lack of communication between us and the recruitment agency. This kind of thing isn’t allowed.”
However, El Hattawi branded the incident a “slap in the face”.
“I know many people that don’t go to job interviews because they’re worried about the reaction they’ll get. Before it happened to me I was skeptical. I heard stories of people being denied a job because of their veil and thought it’s probably another reason,” she said.