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EEOC says Abercrombie & Fitch discriminated based on religion

A federal judge has ruled in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's religious discrimination lawsuit against the clothing chain Abercrombie & Fitch. A jury will consider the case at a later date and decide what damages are owed by the employer. The EEOC claimed in its lawsuit that the corporation violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in its reasoning for not hiring a job applicant.

The young woman arrived to an interview for a job at Abercrombie Kids wearing a head scarf, or hijab. The hiring manager reportedly noted that the applicant wore the head scarf and could not be hired because she did not fit with the employee look policy. The EEOC claimed that the corporation should have provided exceptions in its employee dress code policy for items worn for religious reasons.

Since the employer did not provide these reasonable accommodations or exceptions, the EEOC filed the lawsuit. The federal court agreed with the EEOC and said that Abercrombie & Fitch did not provide enough evidence that it did not discriminate against the job applicant based on religion.

This particular case occurred in Oklahoma. The EEOC enforces federal employment laws in Nevada and across the country. The EEOC makes sure that employers are following federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination based on an intrinsic characteristic or status, such as sex, race, age, disability, religion or national origin. Employers need to take care to follow these laws while crafting employee policies or handbooks and corporate hiring policies.

Source: KTUL.com, "Court Agrees With EEOC in Head Scarf Discrimination Lawsuit," Natalie Andes, 16 July 2011

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