In a vote of eight to one, the Supreme Court allowed Samantha Elauf to sue Abercrombie & Fitch for employment discrimination after the company would not hire her because she wore a traditional head scarf, or hijab. While the company claimed that the scarf clashed with their dress code, the court ruled that the company’s decision to deny employment demonstrated religious discrimination.
Abercrombie & Fitch claimed they had no reason to know that Ms. Elauf’s head scarf was an expression of her religion, something all Muslim women are required to wear. An Abercrombie spokesperson said the company’s dress code has changed since 2008 in an effort to reflect the company’s commitment to diversity. She added that the company has granted many requests for religious accommodations, including hijabs.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said, “An employer may not make an applicant’s religious practice, confirmed or otherwise, a factor in employment decisions.” The court stated that Ms. Elauf was not required to request a religious accommodation for permission to wear her hijab when applying for the job at an Abercrombie-owned children’s clothing company.
Minority groups, including Sikhs, Muslims and Jews applaud the ruling. Supporters feel that the decision confirms the basic rights of minorities to practice their faith freely and pursue employment without the fear of discrimination.
New Jersey employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates represent victims of employment discrimination and will work aggressively to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation, including lost wages, emotional distress and attorney fees. Attorney Gold served as one of the lead attorneys in an earlier nationwide class action lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch, achieving a $50 million settlement. Call us today for a free consultation at 215-569-1999 or contact us online.