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Abercrombie Hit With Another Religious Discrimination Lawsuit over Hijab

July 7, 2011

In a previous Anaheim, California employment lawyers blog, our attorneys discussed the issue of religious discrimination in the workplace, after the popular retail chain Abercrombie & Fitch was sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2009 on behalf of a 17-year old Muslim applicant, for refusing to hire her based on her religious beliefs and for wearing a hijab--a religious headscarf.

In related news, an Abercrombie & Fitch store in California is being sued by a Muslim woman, who is also being backed by the EEOC, and claims that the retail chain failed to accommodate her religious beliefs and attire, and fired her for wearing a hijab while working at the clothing store.

Hani Khan was reportedly hired in October 2009 to work in Abercrombie's Hollister Co. store, in San Mateo, California. Khan states that when she was hired, store managers told her that her hijab would not be in conflict with the store's strict "look policy" as long as the hijab reflected the company's colors.

In February of last year, a district manager reportedly visited the store, and instructed Khan to stop wearing the hijab. Khan was suspended for refusing to stop wearing the headscarf, and was then fired one week later.

Abercrombie is known for selling retail styles that reflect a classic, preppy, American style--but many former employees and applicants claim that there is nothing "American" about their alleged discrimination practices. In 2004 the company settled a $40 million federal class action lawsuit, after being sued by Hispanic and Asian employees and job applicants who claimed race and gender discrimination practices.

Khan is accusing Abercrombie of violating her civil rights by engaging in religious discrimination. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discrimination based on religion is against the law, and an employee's religious attire should be accommodated. According to the EEOC, no employee or applicant should have to make the choice between their employment and their religious beliefs. Under federal law, an employer must accommodate an employee's religious practices and sincere beliefs, such as a hijab or religious attire, unless it causes the company undue hardship.

The religious discrimination lawsuit seeks to force Abercrombie to change the restrictions on employees' religious clothing. Khan is reportedly looking to be reinstated to her position, but is seeking back wages and unspecified damages.

Howard Law, PC represents employees who have experienced discrimination in the workplace in cities throughout Orange County, California. Contact our Anaheim-based labor & employment attorneys today, for a free consultation about your rights.

Abercrombie & Fitch sued over hijab firing, SFGate, June 28, 2011

Muslim woman sues Abercrombie & Fitch over hijab, AP/MSNBC, June 27, 2011

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC)

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (EEOC)

Related Blog Posts:

Muslim Files EEOC Discrimination Complaint Over Disney's Costume Policy--in Order to Wear Hijab, California Employment Lawyers Blog, August 26, 2010

EEOC Files Religious Discrimination Lawsuit Against Abercrombie & Fitch--Muslim Teen Denied Rights, California Employment Lawyers Blog, September 23, 2009

Muslim Housekeeper Fired for Wearing Head Scarf--Wins Religious Discrimination Lawsuit Settlement, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 21, 2009