Abercrombie & Fitch keeps testing the reach of the religious discrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and continues the pay the price for doing so. After being forced by a jury to pay a Muslim job applicant who was not hired after she wore a hijab (a veil that covers the head and chest area) to the job interview, a California district judge just last week again ruled in favor of a plaintiff who filed a wrongful termination suit against Abercrombie & Fitch based on religious discrimination.
In 2009, Umme-Hani Khan started working at a Bay area Hollister store. She also wore a head scarf or hijab during her interview and regularly on the job. While wearing the hijhab, managers often forced her to fold clothing in the back and out of public view. About four months after the district manager visited the store where Khan was working, she was terminated from her employment. The manager of the store and HR told Khan that the hijab violated the company dress code.
In 2011, a religious discrimination claim was filed behalf of Khan. Just last week, the California district court judge ruled against Abercrombie & Fitch, finding that it violated the bar on religious discrimination provided in Title VII. Judge Yavonne Gonzalez Rogers held: “Reasonable jurors could determine that by offering Khan one option — to remove her hijab despite her religious beliefs — Abercrombie acted with malice, reckless indifference or in the face of a perceived risk that its actions violated federal law … “Abercrombie must provide more than generalized subjective beliefs or assumptions that deviations from the Look Policy negatively affect the sales or the brand…The evidence presented does not raise a triable issue that a hardship, much less an undue hardship, would have resulted from allowing Khan to wear her hijab.”
While Abercrombie & Fitch’s liability has been determined, damages in Khan’s case will not be determined until later in a year at a separate trial.
If you feel that you are being discriminated against based on your religion by your employer, you should not wait to call the right attorney at 866-797-6040 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, you will meet with a discrimination lawyer/hostile work environment attorney to find out what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them.
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