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Siemens turns away headscarved internship applicant

A Siemens plant in İstanbul refused to hire a young woman as an intern because of her headscarf.

Source : Agencies | 18 Jun 2012

A Siemens plant in İstanbul’s Kartal district reportedly refused to hire a young woman as an intern because of her headscarf.

According to news reports that appeared in a number of Turkish dailies on Sunday, Sunay Ercan, a fourth-year student in the department of electric engineering at Yıldız Technical University, submitted an online application for an internship at the plant but did not provide a photograph. Her application was subsequently accepted, but when Ercan went to the plant to submit documents required for the internship, officials saw her with a headscarf on and said she would not be employed.

According to the reports, the officials agreed to employ her as an intern only if she took off her scarf before entering the plant.

“They told me I could do my internship at Siemens, so I went over. While an official in the human resources department was examining my documents, a lady called Selen Koparan came over and told me they do not employ headscarved women. But then she said I would be allowed to do my internship if I agreed to take my headscarf off. I told them that I would not agree to that and left,” Ercan was quoted as saying.

When the story was covered extensively in the media, the plant issued a press statement and offered its apology to Ercan. The statement said Siemens does not discriminate against headscarved women and added that Ercan’s application had been accepted. Ercan spoke to reporters after the statement and verified the apology from the plant. However, she said she does not think she will take up the internship position now.


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