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USA: Supreme Court finds Abercrombie guilty of religious discrimination over decision not to hire woman wearing head scarf

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Article
16 June 2015

The Supreme Court ruling in favor of wearing the hijab is in favor of women everywhere

Author: Nusrat Qadir, World Religion News

In 2008, Abercrombie and Fitch denied employment to Samantha Elauf because she wears the Muslim headscarf known as the hijab. The company’s policy prohibited wearing of any kind of head covering forcing Ms. Elauf to take her discrimination case all the way to the Supreme Court. Thankfully, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Samantha Elauf, thus allowing her to work without sacrificing her modesty as prescribed in Islam. But this monumental ruling is more than just about the right to wear religious attire at work. This decision also touches upon the sensitivities of female appearance at the work place...Samanatha Elauf’s case highlighted that regardless if a woman covers her head or not, women continue to fight for equality in the workplace...The Supreme Court ruling upholds the American value of freedom of religion and enables hijab wearing Muslim women a fair opportunity to earn a living. This ruling also makes a statement about the right for all women to be valued beyond appearance, a fact that companies and countries worldwide are now forced to recognize...

 

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Article
2 June 2015

5 lessons from the Abercrombie & Fitch 'hijab' case [Subscription required]

Author: Ben James, Law 360 (USA)

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent revival of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discrimination suit against Abercrombie & Fitch Stores Inc. put a spotlight on religious accommodations for job applicants. With the Abercrombie ruling in mind, experts offered tips to help businesses be proactive about accommodating religion while minimizing legal exposure...[T]he decision did leave some observers with worries about how to balance the need to be proactive about offering religious accommodations with the need to refrain from querying applicants about religious beliefs. Lawyers cited five moves for employers concerned about exactly what should be said to prospective workers in light of the recent ruling...Let Interviewees Know What's Expected...Get HR Involved...Keep Managers Well-Trained...Think Twice About Image-Based Policies...Have a Genuine Dialogue...

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Article
2 June 2015

Scarf ruling means more job-bias training for U.S. bosses

Author: Thomas Black & Carol Hymowitz, Bloomberg Business (USA)

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Abercrombie & Fitch Co. can be sued for denying employment to a woman wearing a head scarf will compel companies large and small to brush up on the nuances of bias and do more to accommodate employees’ religious beliefs...The ruling underscores the need for businesses to be more attuned to workers’ religious beliefs...Abercrombie said in a statement that the court “did not determine that A&F discriminated against Ms. Elauf.” The company said it has made changes to its dress code to let employees be “more individualistic.”...The ruling puts a burden on small businesses that don’t have large human resource and legal departments to deal with the nuances of religion and how to accommodate those practices...Most owners are taught not to ask about religious beliefs because that could lead to charges of discrimination...Retailers and other businesses have navigated a range of religious-freedom issues in recent years -- often staking out opposing views... [Also refers to Hobby Lobby, Walmart]

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Article
1 June 2015

A Muslim woman beat Abercrombie & Fitch. Why her Supreme Court victory is a win for all Americans.

Author: Simran Jeet Singh, senior religion fellow for the Sikh Coalition and PhD candidate at Columbia University, in Washington Post (US)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of Samantha Elauf, an American Muslim woman who wears a hijab and was denied a job at Abercrombie & Fitch when she was 17...because her religious identity violates Abercrombie’s “look policy.”...Elauf’s case illustrates a number of important issues in modern America, serving as a landmark case on workplace discrimination and religious freedom...Discriminatory policies filter down to the American public and send the message that it is okay to treat marginalized communities as second-class citizens...Having a more diverse cross section represented in the workforce would cut against negative stereotypes that contribute to xenophobia and hate violence targeting minority communities...What has been at stake here is not just a single employer that has discriminated against one individual...A large majority of Americans affected by such discriminatory policies belong to minority faith communities, and the Supreme Court’s decision directly impacts how we think about equal opportunity and religious freedom in this country...The ruling serves as an opportunity to improve existing legislation on workplace discrimination and religious freedom... 

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Article
1 June 2015

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

Author: Jana Kasperkevic, Guardian (UK)

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...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.”...“A&F remains focused on ensuring the company has an open-minded and tolerant workplace environment for all current and future store associates. We have made significant enhancements..."

 

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