Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Abercrombie & Fitch draws EEOC complaint for banning hijab

Acbercrombie & Fitch, the upper class store for pre-teens and teens recent was hit with an EEOC complaint for banning a hijab according to a recent article in the National Law Journal.

As the article states:

The complaint came five months after the EEOC filed suit against the clothing retailer over a similar complaint.

Abercrombie reached a $50 million agreement with the EEOC in 2004 resolving racial discrimination claims over its hiring and recruiting practices and its marketing "look," which predominantly featured white men and women.

"The company has a history of very explicit discrimination," said Zahra Billoo, programs and outreach director in CAIR's office in Santa Clara, Calif. "It's a disappointing pattern to see in a mainstream American company."

CAIR, one of the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties organizations, filed its complaint on Wednesday on behalf of Umme-Hani Kahn, 19, a stockroom worker who had been employed by Abercrombie subsidiary Hollister Co. in San Mateo, Calif. When she was hired in October, Kahn was told she could wear the hijab, Billoo said.

"It didn't come up in terms of, 'Can I wear it?'" she said, but rather "how it fits with the 'look' policy. Local management said, 'Yes, as long as it's white, gray or Navy blue. Everything they wear has to be in those colors."

She wore the hijab at work with no problems until this month, when a district manager, upon visiting the store, arranged a meeting in the stockroom with Kahn and someone from the company's human resources department, who participated via telephone. They told Kahn that scarves and hats did not fit the company's "look" and sent her home.

On Monday, Kahn was ordered to remove her hijab during work hours. When she refused, claiming that it would violate her religious beliefs, they fired her, Billoo said.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Employment Discrimination | Permalink


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