Some companies refuse to hire niqab-wearing women: NSHR

Mufleh Al-Qahtani
Mufleh Al-Qahtani

Saudi Gazette report

The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has received complaints from a number of Saudi women saying that some private companies refused to employ them because they were wearing the face-covering niqab, its chairman Mufleh Al-Qahtani has said.

"The society has noted that some companies prefer women who keep their faces uncovered," Al-Watan newspaper quoted Al-Qahtani saying.

"This is a clear discrimination against women in the workplace, which the concerned authorities should intervene and put an end to," he added.

Al-Qahtani said some companies rescinded their decision after the society had contacted them.

"If it is proved that a company has refused to employ a Saudi woman just because she was wearing the face veil or the head scarf, we will sue it at the Ministry of Labor and Social Development," Al-Qahtani warned.

He recalled that some companies that revoked the decision after the society contacted them put the blame on an employee who is not well aware of the company's policy.

"The employment of women should be based on their qualifications and competence, not on what they wear or how they look," he said.

Lawyer Abdulaziz Al-Mahaili said the preference for the job offer should not be based on the outward appearance of a candidate but rather on their educational qualifications and practical experience.

He said the employer has every right to choose the employee who suits him most but he should not dismiss women candidates for wearing face veil or head cover.

The lawyer advised the women who rejected because of their style of clothing to complain to the Ministry of Labor, not to the courts.