The Decision Has Been Made—Abercrombie & Fitch Liable for Discrimination

Earlier this year, we discussed a pending case against prep retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch. The company was being sued for religious discrimination against a Muslim female who wore a hijab to her employment interview. Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court made their choice.

The plaintiff, Samantha Elauf, wore a black head scarf when she first interviewed with the “classic East Coast collegiate style” retailer, which the company contended was against its “Look Policy.” During the initial trial for the case, a jury awarded Elauf a $20,000 reward, however, that was overturned on appeal. The Appeals judge wrote, “Ms. Elauf never informed Abercrombie before its hiring decision that she wore her head scarf, or ‘hijab,’ for religious reasons.”

Though the case was sent back to the appeals level by the Supreme Court, it ruled 8-1 that the company at least suspected that Elauf was wearing the head scarf for religious reasons; they chose not to hire her as to avoid having to create a religious accommodation.

Justice Antonin Scala penned and announced the decision, saying “this is really easy.” Scalia continued, “Title VII forbids adverse employment decisions made with a forbidden motive, whether this motives derives from actual knowledge, a well-founded suspicion or merely a hunch.”

Source: NY Times