Published On: Thu, Feb 26th, 2015

Hijab-Clad Woman Rejected by Abercrombie & Fitch Takes Case to the Supreme Court

Supreme Court Samuel Alito says Abercrombie can't claim they didn't know the hijab was for religious reasons

Samantha Elauf

Samantha Elauf, who was refused a job at Abercrombie & Fitch because she wore a hijab, is pleading her case at the Supreme Court, as reported by Forbes.

Although the company has a strict code on how their sales staff, called “models” dress, including no facial hair, wildly colored hair or dangly earrings, Elauf was recommended highly by a manager, but was ultimately denied a job because of the hijab, as Abercrombie & Fitch management stated openly. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued on Elauf’s behalf and won, but the 10th circuit court of appeals reversed the decision, because Elauf did not inform her employees that she was wearing the hijab for religious reasons, and would need to every day.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito asked the common sense question what other reason did A&F interviewers think she had for wearing a hijab? Shay Dvoretzky, an attorney for Abercrombie, said if management had assumed Elauf wore the hijab for religious reasons, they would be engaging in stereotyping.

Justice Alito responded, according to Dispatch.com, “You assumed she was going to do this every day. And the only reason she would do it every day was because she had a religious reason.” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Title VII requires them to treat people who have religious practice differently. They don’t have to accommodate a baseball cap. They do have to accommodate a yarmulke.”

Samatha Elauf, who has been vocally supported by Jewish, Muslim, Christian and LGBT groups (imagine them all agreeing on something), has been the latest PR sore spot for A&F. This event comes after the controversial Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Michael Jeffries left the company after statements putting down plus size consumers and saying he’d rather have excess inventory destroyed rather than be see on the homeless.

 

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