Well, wouldja look at that, Abercrombie & Fitch is under siege once again. In A&F’s latest news, a young Muslim woman filed an anti-discrimination suit against the company because she was unable to wear a hijab to work. Jeez, this company needs to get its act together.
In 2010, 18-year-old Hani Khan was fired from the San Mateo, CA, Hollister store. Four months into her job, Khan’s manager expressed concern for her head scarf. Khan refused to remove it. In light of this, Khan was terminated from her job.
Then a mere 11 days after the incident, the company offered Khan her job back, but under the condition she not wear a hijab. Khan declined the offer. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit against A&F on behalf of Khan in 2011.
“They just don’t feel like it [a hijab] fits in with their ‘Look Policy,’” says Khan. The company’s ‘Look Policy’ is essentially a grooming guidebook for all employees. It outlines what they should wear and how their hair should look at work.
While in court, Abercrombie (a brand which, btw, the CEO explains is only for ‘cool kids’) argued that a hijab is a sign of modesty amongst Muslim women and that its appearance would negatively affect sales. Despite these lame attempts on the part of the defense, the federal judge presiding over the case said in writing, “Abercrombie failed to offer any evidence from those four months showing a decline in sales.” The judge ultimately ruled that the high-end retailer had discriminated against Khan.
After the ruling, an A&F representative told ABC News, “Abercrombie & Fitch does not discriminate based on religion and we grant religious accommodations when reasonable.”
However, this isn’t the first time Abercrombie & Douche has been in the hot seat for discrimination. Back in 2004, they settled a $50 million class-action lawsuit after female, Latino, African-American, and Asian-American plaintiffs argued that they hadn't been hired based on their race, and if they had been, they wouldn’t have be allowed promotions in the company. During the case, the company said that they didn’t do anything wrong.
After reading the rep’s quote, and learning about A&F’s discrimination past, I couldn’t help but do a huge facepalm. On the real, I can’t deal with how dumb this company is.
As of right now, a trial concerning the company’s liability and punitive damages is set for September 30th. Because of her lawsuit, Khan hopes A&F’s company policies will change. And we do too.