Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Supreme Court rules in favor of Muslima in EEOC lawsuit against Abercrombie&Fitch

Why would a Muslim apply at a business where the entire atmosphere, clothing and advertising is anathema to Islamic values in the first place?  Why not find another line of work, or a business that more closely reflects your own personal beliefs?  Maybe she was doing what Muslims are supposed to do; force Western businesses to acquiesce to Islamic norms through lawsuits, or sometimes the threat of legal action gets the job done.

A&F declined to hire her because her hijab violated the company "look" yet her lawsuit now forces A&F to change their "look" in order to accommodate this Muslima.  I guess it's true, one Muslim can change the business model.

From the Guardian June 1 by Jana Kasperkevic

Top US court rules for Muslim woman denied Abercrombie job over hijab

The US supreme court on Monday ruled in favor of Samantha Elauf, a Muslim woman who was denied a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch clothing store in Oklahoma because she wore a headscarf for religious reasons.

The justices decided the case, which united Christian, Muslim and Jewish and other religious organizations, with an 8-1 vote, ruling in favor of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which sued the company on behalf of Elauf.

“The EEOC applauds the Supreme Court’s decision affirming that employers may not make an applicant’s religious practice a factor in employment decisions,” said EEOC chair Jenny Yang, in a statement.

“This ruling protects the rights of workers to equal treatment in the workplace without having to sacrifice their religious beliefs or practices.”

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In a statement to the Guardian, an Abercrombie & Fitch spokesperson said: “While the supreme court reversed the tenth circuit decision, it did not determine that A&F discriminated against Ms Elauf.

“We will determine our next steps in the litigation, which the supreme court remanded for further consideration.”

In 2008, when she was 17, Elauf was denied a sales job at an Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa. The legal question before the court was whether Elauf was required to inform the potential employer of a need for a religious accommodation in order for the company to be sued under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans employment discrimination based on religious beliefs and practices.

When attending her job interview, Elauf was wearing a headscarf, or hijab, but did not specifically say that as a Muslim she wanted the company to give her a religious accommodation that would allow her to wear it. She was denied the job because her hijab violated the company’s ‘look policy’ in two ways: it was black, and it was considered to be headwear.

During the 25 February hearing of the case, Justice Elena Kagan compared the situation to an employer deciding it did not want to hire Jewish people and then looking out for names that appeared Jewish as a way to screen applicants.

Not even close.  A&F did not see her as a Muslim with a headscarf to be discriminated against, it was a company policy decision based in a company image which is highly successful.  Justice Kagan is wrong in making this comparison.

Read it all

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