US Supreme Court to hear Abercrombie headscarf case


Washington (AFP) - The US Supreme Court said Thursday it will hear the case of a Muslim woman who was denied employment at trendy clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch because she wore a headscarf.

This should be interesting. In my opinion, what they did is unjust discrimination.


Abercrombie already discriminates against people it sees as too ‘ugly’ to sell its clothes.

I think this woman should win her case, I am certain it is in full violation of the law.


The case, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch, started in 2008 when 17-year-old Samantha Elauf applied for a job at the Abercrombie Kids store in the Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At Abercrombie, salespeople are called “models,” and part of the job interview is scored on how you look. Once hired, the “models” must comply with an Abercrombie “look policy” that governs how they dress.

Elauf knew the score. Before the interview, she asked a friend who knew the store’s assistant manager whether she would be able to wear a hijab on the job. The manager told her friend that because he’d worked with someone who wore a yarmulke at Abercrombie, he expected the hijab would be fine. The only quirk was that the look policy prohibited anything black, so Elauf would have to go with a different color headscarf. She thought that sounded all right. Elauf showed up for the interview wearing what the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit called “an Abercrombie-like T-shirt and jeans” – plus a black hijab.

Elauf didn’t bring up her religion or headscarf, and neither did the interviewer, who did mention other requirements of the look policy such as a ban on excessive makeup or nail polish. Elauf did well. She got a two out of three score for appearance and on the other categories. Her total score was six, which ordinarily would get her the job. Once the interview was over, the interviewer was unsure of how to proceed, because she didn’t know what company policy would be on the hijab or its color. Her direct supervisor didn’t know, and she was directed to a district manager. He told the interviewer that a headscarf would be inconsistent with Abercrombie’s look policy, and that she should change Elauf’s appearance score to one out of three, which would put her total at five, one point short of a job recommendation.

Elauf didn’t get the job – and the EEOC sued Abercrombie for religious discrimination. A federal district court thought it was an open and shut case and decided summarily for the EEOC. The 10th Circuit reversed. In a split decision, the court didn’t just send the issue to trial; it issued summary judgment for Abercrombie.


I think the store will win. They have a right to project a certain image. That’s what’s get people into the store.

The discrimination laws are not absolute. I think there are reasonable exceptions. This would be one of them.


Where was is said she was rejected on account of her religion? She was rejected because she wouldn’t adhere to the company’s dress code.

If you don’t like how a business conducts it’s business, then you are free to go work somewhere else.

That would be like a Catholic applying for a job as a nurse at an abortion clinic, and then expecting the clinic to stop doing abortions because it violated the applicant’s religious beliefs.


I don’t understand why they didn’t explain the no black clothing policy to her and hire her on the condition that she understood it and complied with it.


According to court documents, Elauf was cautioned not to wear a headscarf to the job interview and was encouraged to dress in line with the company’s aesthetic.

“Before her interview, Ms. Elauf knew the position required her to model the Abercrombie style, knew the style of clothing that Abercrombie sold, and also knew that Abercrombie did not sell headscarves,” Abercrombie said in its court brief.

Why would she have any expectation that the dress code would be different once she was hired?

closed #8

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