Abercrombie Loses Muslim Headscarf Suit

Chain was wrong to fire worker, judge rules

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 10, 2013 1:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – More controversy for Abercrombie & Fitch: A Muslim stockroom worker fired for wearing a headscarf has won her anti-discrimination case against the clothing chain, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. A federal judge ruled the chain violated the religious rights of the woman and there was no "credible evidence" to back up its claim that the woman cost the company sales by deviating from its "Look" policy, which requires workers to dress in a "natural, classic American style."

The woman, who may be awarded damages by a jury later this month, wore a headscarf to her job interview and was allowed to wear one in company colors for months before she was spotted by a district manager, the judge noted. "At the heart of this case is the belief that no one should ever have to choose between their religion and their work," says a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The firm—which had already granted exemptions to its dress code for Jewish yarmulkes and the headscarves of at least 16 other women—has now updated its policy to allow hijabs. Its "Look" policy led to a lawsuit in Britain a few years ago, when a woman with a prosthetic arm sued after being shifted to backroom duties. She won her case and was awarded $12,000.

Hani Khan, a former stockroom worker for Abercrombie & Fitch, was fired for refusing to remove her Muslim headscarf.
Hani Khan, a former stockroom worker for Abercrombie & Fitch, was fired for refusing to remove her Muslim headscarf.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
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