The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued popular youth clothing company Abercrombie and Fitch yesterday over a case in which a young 18 year-old woman’s job application was turned down because she wore the hijab.
The suit was filed at the US District Court in San Francisco, where the civil rights agency made the claim that the company was discriminating on the basis of religion when the girl was turned down at one of the company’s stores in the Great Mall of Milpitas, California.
William Tamayo, the agency’s regional attorney says, “This retailer that targets a youth market is sending the message that you cannot aspire to their ‘All American’ brand if you wear a head covering to comply with your faith.”
The unidentified job applicant says she wore a colorful scarf to match with her outfit and saw that the manager who interviewed her had checked ‘not Abercrombie look.’ She said, “The interview crushed me, because I never imagined anyone in the Bay Area would reject me because of my headscarf. They didn’t just miss out on a hard worker. They lost a customer.”
Although Abercrombie and Fitch representatives have not commented on the case yet, this is not the first incident of this nature. Last year in September, the company faced a similar suit in Ohio for rejecting the application of 17 year-old Samantha Elauf as a salesperson, claiming that the girl’s scarf was violating the store’s “Look Policy.”
Earlier this year, Muslim woman Hani Khan, who worked for a Hollister store in San Mateo, was fired due to her refusal to remove her hijab as well. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) got involved and stated that the young woman’s dismissal from her job was a violation of nondiscrimination laws, involving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the process.