The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission sued Abercrombie & Fitch, accusing the retail clothing chain of discriminating against a job applicant based on religion. The EEOC said that the store had discriminated against a young woman who had applied for a job in Abercrombie Kids because she wore a hijab or head scarf for religious purposes.
The company did not hire the young woman because she wore her head scarf to the job interview and the hiring manager said that it violated the “look policy” of the corporation, according to KTUL.com.
The corporation’s look policy prohibited headscarves, but the EEOC said that an employer needs to provide reasonable accommodation for religious beliefs and practices in any company employee policy. The EEOC filed the lawsuit to assert that corporations cannot have a blanket prohibition of an item of clothing in a dress code policy without building in exceptions for items worn for religious reasons.
A federal judge agreed with the EEOC last week and ruled that Abercrombie & Fitch had illegally discriminated against the job applicant based on religion by refusing to consider her for the job because of its faulty corporate employment policy.
This case occurred in Oklahoma, but this kind of religious discrimination is also illegal in California as it is across the country under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC is a federal agency that enforces federal employee laws, such laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sex, race, national origin, pregnancy, age or disability.
Source: KTUL.com, “Court Agrees With EEOC in Head Scarf Discrimination Lawsuit,” Natalie Andes, 16 July 2011