Cancer patient sues motor vehicle office over alleged head scarf incident

A mother battling breast cancer is suing the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, after she claims an employee demanded she remove her head scarf for a new photograph instead of using her old one while renewing her license.

“You have to take that thing off,” Jennifer Giordano claims an employee at the Eatontown office said, according to Asbury Park Press.


Giordano, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in February, was wearing the scarf because she was self-conscious about her hair loss. In court documents filed over the June 14 incident, 40-year-old Giordano said she felt discriminated against and was caused emotional distress, Asbury Park Press reported.

Giordano compared the experience to someone being told to take their shirt off and walk around.

“It’s like exposing yourself in a very raw way that’s not necessary, and then to have that picture on my license for years,” she told the news outlet. “If you’re going through a chemotherapy regimen that causes you to lose your hair, you shouldn’t be made to feel that way by anybody, especially a state agency.”

According to the Asbury Park Press, New Jersey state law states that residents whose appearance may change during medical treatment can renew their license with an old photo, but medical documentation from a doctor is required, and it cannot exceed a year from the license’s expiration date.


Another employee reportedly intervened and granted Giordano a new license with her old photo. Giordano alleges that the manager explained the policy allows people with headscarves for medical or religious reasons.

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission declined to comment on the case to the Asbury Park Press.