Religious Brouhaha at a Go-Kart Track
CHICAGO (CN) - Go-Kart track workers cut a woman's hair to free her after it was sucked into an engine - thereby assaulting and battering her, as her Sikh religion prohibits her from cutting her hair, she claims in court.
Holly Hanjra sued Melrose Park Indoor Grand Prix and Santino Scarlato in Cook County Court.
As a Sikh, Hanjra claims, she has never cut her hair since she was born.
She visited Melrose Grand Prix with friends in January 2012 to race Go-Karts.
She watched a safety video, and claims that neither the video nor any employee warned her about the danger of Go-Karting with exposed long hair.
"After staring the Go-Kart race, Holly's hair was forcibly sucked into the Go-Kart's engine," the lawsuit states.
"Holly's head was violently pulled backwards along with her hair.
"In order to release Holly's hair from the Go-Kart, the manager, agents and staff of Melrose, insisted on cutting Holly's hair.
"Upon reason and belief, the manager, agents, and staff members of Melrose do not have any knowledge or the inter-workings on the engine.
"Upon reason and belief, most, if not all, manager, agents and staff members of Melrose were under the age of eighteen.
"Holly insisted to not cut her hair.
"Holly, and members of Holly's party urged the manager, agents of Melrose to call 9-1-1 to properly remove Holly from the Go-Kart in the event that she suffered head and/or neck injuries.
"Members of Holly's party, most of whom were members of the Sikh faith, repeatedly insisted that Holly's hair not be cut due to its religious significance until the proper authorities were called."
The racetrack manager, Santino Scarlato, refused to call police or paramedics, Hanjra claims.
"The Melrose staff members cut Holly's hair over repeated and numerous protests by members of Holly's party, most of whom were members of the Sikh faith.
"After Holly's hair was cut from her head, the severed hair was easily removed from the engine.
"Holly's hair did not need to be cut to release her hair from the engine," Hanjra claims.
The track staff then booted the party from the premises, Hanjra says.
She claims that members of her party heard the manager and staff accuse one another of failing to notice that at least three of the Go-Karters had long, exposed hair.
Hanjra seeks damages for assault and battery, emotional distress, willful and wanton conduct, negligent misconduct, negligent hiring, negligent retention, and negligent supervision.
She is represented by Masoud Mirsafian.