A 46-year-old waitress from Bonteheuwel says she was fired for telling a Muslim man to remove his fez before going into a non-halaal establishment.
Polly Parolus said all she was trying to do was teach the young man and his friends respect for the Islamic holy month of Ramadaan, and now she’s jobless.
Polly, who’s been a waitress for 18 years, started her new job at Franky’s Diner in Sea Point last week.
Before that, she worked for Franky’s co-owner, Saul Beder, at his other restaurant.
She says she was outside on a break when four would-be customers pulled up on Friday night.
One of the two guys wore a fez and a salaah top, and two girls had scarves on.
“I spoke to the guy and told them we are not halaal,” Polly explains.
“They said they knew, and I asked him if it would not be more appropriate to remove his fez out of respect, you know, for the Fast. They then just left.”
But it appears the youngsters took offence at Polly’s advice, and took to social media to complain.
@nabeel_26 tweeted: “Being denied entry into @Franky’sDinerSP for wearing a salaah top and fez and still being asked to remove it by the waitress.”
He tagged SABCjournalist Ivor Price, the South African Human Rights Commission and Cape Talk radio.
@FakhrieArendse slammed Franky’s for its alleged discrimination, tweeting: “Really? @Franky’sDinerSP pathetic! You need to reevaluate where you want ur brand to be. cos on Twitter, we expose.” (sic)
Polly claims she was fired by Beder on Saturday for bringing the company’s name into disrepute.
Franky’s has apologised on their official Facebook page, and said the matter had been “dealt” with.
@Nabeel accepted the apology on Twitter, but Polly says she is now without a job.
“I was really not judging them or telling them not to enter,” says Polly.
“If I saw them now I would apologise for the misconception, but why must I lose my job?”
Beder and Franky’s other co-owner Franklin Arendse say they’ve had a “traumatic” two days after the incident.
And the bosses insist Polly was not employed by them.
“The waitress in question was in training and had worked for me before,” explains Beder.
“After Friday’s incident we decided to not continue her training. She was not employed.”