Model photo: Carina Johansen / NTB Scanpix
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, applied for the in-home care position in January, but the person who would receive her help did not want an assistant who wore a hijab.
Oslo Municipality agreed to honour the person’s wishes and a municipal employee sent the 21-year-old woman a text message offering her the job on the condition that she would remove her headscarf, NRK reported.
Although the incident occurred in January, the woman only shared her story with the broadcaster this week and provided a screenshot of the conversation.
“Hi, I have spoken with [name redacted] and he said that if you are comfortable with working without the hijab then you can have the job with him. Is that something that could be relevant for you?” a municipal employee wrote.
“I must unfortunately decline. It’s [the hijab, ed.] is a big part of my and I can not give it up,” the 21-year-old woman wrote back.
Norway’s Equality and Discrimination Ombudsman says it has received 45 discrimination complaints about religion so far this year, and concluded that Oslo Municipality violated discrimination laws with its offer to the woman.
A council spokeswoman acknowledged that they shouldn’t have asked the woman to remove her hijab.
“We try to go as far as we can to meet our users’ needs, but in this case we went too far,” Marie Anbjørg Joten told NRK, adding that the municipality has a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination.
The 21-year-old woman said the hijab comment has affected her mental health and caused her to lose the motivation to seek a job.