Abercrombie & Fitch Under Fire Again For…

The well-known clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is in hot water again for religious discrimination. According to a complaint filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Abercrombie failed to hire female applicant Halla Banafa because she wore a hijab – an Islamic religious head scarf – to the job interview at the store in Milipitas, California. Abercrombie claimed its decision not to hire Banafa was because she was not available to work during the week, but the evidence showed weekend workers were in demand rather than weekday workers. The EEOC also presented evidence showing that religion and the hijab were discussed at Banafa’s interview as well as Abercrombie’s “look policy,” which prohibits employees from wearing “hats.” Further evidence confirmed that even though Banafa scored well during her interview, three other candidates were hired with lower scores. As a result, the court found that Abercrombie failed to meet its reasonable accommodation obligation under Title VII. Interestingly enough, this is not the first time Abercrombie has been under fire for religious discrimination. Two years ago, Abercrombie was sued by the EEOC for firing a Muslim employee for wearing a hijab. The Fair Employment and Housing Act, which is the state equivalent of the EEOC, recently clarified that a religious dress practice (such as a head covering or jewelry) or religious grooming practice (such as a hair style or facial hair) is protected under the Act.