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Retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Found Guilty of Religious Discrimination

January 19th, 2014
Religious Discrimination

California’s U.S. District Court recently opined that retailer Abercrombie & Fitch violated federal anti-discrimination laws.  The Ohio-based retailer was found liable for religious discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act for refusing to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs – specifically, not allowing the employee to wear religious attire to work.

Abercrombie & Fitch terminated a Muslim employee for refusing to remove her hijab head covering while at work in one of their California retail stores.  A hijab is a head scarf typically worn by Muslim women that allows them to maintain their modesty.  It is a common form of religious attire similar to yarmulkes worn by Jews or turbans worn by Sikhs.

Employees’ Religious Practices Protected by Federal Law

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964  is a federal law that protects workers from religious discrimination in the workplace.  Forms of discrimination include disparate treatment, harassment and segregation of employees based on their religion.  Under Title VII, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for the religious practices of its applicants and employees, unless it would create an undue hardship for the company.

In order for religious attire to be prohibited by the employer, it would have to either be deemed a safety hazard or negatively affect sales performance.  In the Abercrombie & Fitch discrimination case, the Court did not accept that the company’s argument that employees are “living advertisements” of the company’s brand justifying a dress code and found that the company failed to prove that the allowing the employee to wear the hijab would create an undue hardship for the company.

New Jersey Employment Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates Fight for the Rights of Victims of Unfair Treatment

The Philadelphia discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates believe that the religious beliefs and practices of all employees should be protected and accommodated in the workplace.  Our employment lawyers have extensive experience representing victims of religious discrimination in the workplace.  Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, PA and serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 215-569-1999 or submit an online contact form to schedule a consultation with one of our discrimination lawyers.

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