Abercrombie fired employee over hijab, Muslim woman wins religious battle
KPIX screen shot
After a three-year battle, Umme-Hani Khan has won her religious fight against the ever-controversial retail company Abercrombie & Fitch.
Khan was 19 years old and worked part time in a stock room for Holister, a retail store under A&F, when she was told she would lose her job unless she removed her religious headscarf. Khan was told that wearing a hijab was against the company's dress code and "look policy," according to NBC News.
A federal judge ruled Monday that the company violated federal anti-employment discrimination guidelines when they fired Khan in 2010. During the trial, Abercrombie said its store experienced a loss of revenue if employees did not conform to the dress standards, but Religion News Service reported that the company was unable to provide any evidence of this claim.
"All Americans have a right to reasonable religious accommodation in the workplace, and for Muslim women this includes the right to wear a hijab to work," Zahra Billoo, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told Religion News Service.
As for Khan, she simply hopes her case will raise awareness and acceptance.
"My hope is that this case will lead to Abercrombie changing their practices ... in regards to religious accommodation," Khan told San Jose Mercury News on Monday. "I don't want this to happen to any other person."
Now age 23, Khan is grateful for the help of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which sued Abercrombie on her behalf.
"We're living in America; it's such a melting pot of diversity with so many different types of people," she told the San Jose Mercury News. "That's why I've taken this case so publicly, so that they realize what they did was wrong and what they continue to do is wrong."
This lawsuit and controversy is not the first for Abercrombie. It was only a year before Khan's lawsuit that 17-year-old Samantha Elauf received the same treatment in regard to her hijab.
The company was also recently in the media due to statements made by the CEO regarding the "type" of people Abercrombie clothes are made for. In 2004 the company was also a part of the court case Gonzalez vs. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, in which the company was sued for excluding minorities and women in their hiring practices.
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