Muslim denied an interview because of hijab finds casual work in banking.

The Muslim woman told it was a "waste of time" applying for a position at an Auckland jewellery store if she wouldn't take off her head scarf has been given her first chance at a job.

On Wednesday, Mona Alfadli, 25, started work as a wealth operations consultant with ASB.

"I was so proud of myself, like I can't express my feelings, but I was so, so happy to have my first day."

Even though it was just a casual, temporary role, the bank was the first employer to even give her a chance since she began applying for jobs in November last year. Alfadli hoped the opportunity would give way to a permanent position.


"I really like the ASB community. They took me in and were very welcoming," she said.

"I'd like to apply for a permanent job in the future, to learn and grow within the company."

The recent graduate, who has a diploma in applied computer system engineering, had sent out at least five job applications a day since she finished her studies to no avail.

She contacted the Herald following an incident where she said a store manager at New Lynn's Stewart Dawsons told her not to bother applying if she planned to wear her hijab on the job.

The experience left Alfadli, who came with her family as refugees from Kuwait in 2008, despondent about her future prospects.

"I can do any job, I don't mind, but I will keep my hijab, I will keep my identity and respect my culture and my religion."

Following her tale's publication she received words and offers of support with numerous companies, including ANZ, Spark and Auckland Council offering her a chance to be interviewed.

The jewellery chain's head office, James Pascoe Group, also offered its apologies and another interview.

In October last year, former Kelston Girls College deputy head Fatima Mohammadi was turned away from an interview at the same jewellery chain's Henderson branch because of her hijab. She was later offered a summer job at the company's St Luke's store.

ASB declined commenting at this stage, saying it hadn't offered Alfadli the job for the publicity.

Despite her struggle to get a job, Alfadli was happy at how things had turned out.

Her advice to others in her situation: "There's always a place who will welcome you, don't stop trying, there will be someone who will say yes."

A symbol of identity

• The hijab [a scarf] worn by Muslim women that covers the hair, neck and chest

• It is typically worn after the age of puberty in the presence of men outside their family

• It is seen as a symbol of modesty

• In many cases it is a woman's choice whether or not she wears it

• The hijab represents a woman's personal, cultural and religious identity

• It can be part of a Muslim women's visual expression of her faith