The U.S. Supreme Court will make a rare foray into popular clothing on Wednesday to weigh in on accusations that Abercrombie & Fitch illegally rejected a Muslim job applicant because of her hijab, Agence France-Presse reported.
Abercrombie argued that its store policy forbids sales staff — whom it calls “models” — from wearing “caps” of any sort, and that Samantha Elauf, then 17, should have made clear in her 2008 interview that she could not comply due to her religion.
“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,” the company said in a court brief.
It stressed that floor staff are expected to sport a “classic East Coast collegiate style.”
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a complaint on behalf of Elauf against Abercrombie & Fitch, which is known for sales associates often dressed in racy attire, and attorneys say she is protected by the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Under the act, no one can be refused employment based on their religion, unless the employer cannot accommodate the person’s religious beliefs without adversely affecting business.
The closely watched case could have deep ramifications for how businesses hire their employees because it would place the burden on employers to warn job applicants of any characteristics that could hurt their candidacy, experts say… see more