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Abercrombie & Fitch Loses Lawsuit in Supreme Court for Not Hiring Muslim Woman Because of Head Scarf

Emanuel Shirazi

Abercrombie & Fitch can’t seem to stay away from controversy. The Supreme Court recently ruled 8-1 in favor of Samantha Elauf, a Muslim woman who claimed she was not hired by the clothing store because her head scarf (or hijab) conflicted with the dress code. Elauf was awarded $20,000 for the suit filed on her behalf by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The decision was determined based on this principle: though companies are allowed to have dress codes, they cannot “act with the forbidden motive of discriminating on the basis of an applicant’s religious practices.” Employers are required to reasonably accommodate the religious needs of an employer or applicant.

In addition to having to wear clothes that have an East Coast collegiate or preppy style— Abercrombie employees must follow a strict (and controversial) dress code or ‘look policy’ that includes recommendations for appropriate fingernail length and hair color. Because of the latest lawsuit, Abercrombie & Fitch will have to replace its “look policy” with a more “individualistic” dress code.

What do you think–should some employers be able to have dress codes for their employees that would prohibit certain religious clothing?

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