Abercrombie & Fitch Sued Over Headscarf Firing

A San Mateo woman is taking the retailer to court after being let go from Hillsdale Mall location.

A San Mateo woman is suing Abercrombie & Fitch after she was allegedly fired from her job at the company’s outlet for not removing her headscarf.

The woman, who has not been identified, is a Muslim, and “she was told that her headscarf, though worn based on a religious mandate, was not in compliance with the company's ‘look policy,’” said those representing her in the lawsuit. She worked at , a subsidiary of Abercrombie & Fitch, in 2009 and 2010.

Some Muslim traditions require that women wear the headscarf, or hijab, when out in public.

Her case has been taken up by the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco - Employment Law Center, a group that works to defend the rights of the socially disadvantaged. Christopher Herrera, a spokesman for the group, said the case “came to us through the Council on American-Islamic Relations. They know that we work with employment issues and with discrimination issues regarding employment.”

The Legal Aid Society and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are filing the suit on Monday in San Francisco, after which a news conference will be held. The conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the legal group’s offices at 180 Montgomery Street, Suite 600, San Francisco.

CAIR describes itself as “America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.”

According to a press release issued by both groups, “The plaintiff worked for Hollister Co., a brand of Abercrombie & Fitch, for several months in 2009-10 while wearing a hijab. In February 2010, she was terminated from her position as a stockroom employee after refusing to remove her scarf."

Herrera said he could not comment further on the case until the lawsuit is filed Monday.

The suit is being filed in conjunction with a lawsuit already filed against Abercrombie & Fitch by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the group said.

Abercrombie & Fitch representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Alicia De Barri June 26, 2011 at 12:31 PM
Abercrombie and Fitch is obviously a company run by dried-up control freaks, and anyone with any sense would never shop there. Did the EEEVIL head scarf HURT the poor babies' widdle feelings? Hey, A & F - if your employees are doing their jobs, leave them the hell alone, you oppressive blots on the American landscape. And then they wonder why we need unions.
gold7246 June 26, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Alicia, This Muslim nor does anyone else have specific right to any job. The owners of the business have a right to conduct their business the way they see fit. After all it is THEIR private property. If this Muslim doesn't want to comply with the work standards, then she can quit and go to work for someone else who will put up with her crap. So, what happens if she decides she wants to wear a burka to work, do they have to let her do that also??
leciat June 26, 2011 at 01:22 PM
so if a woman doesn't dress to the islamic code of "modestly" then she is a slut? but you have no idea why we ignorant infidels see islam in a bad light it is a fact that some muslim women are forced to dress "modestly" and wear a head scarf and/or burka. so i will give you a little food for thought. every time you and other muslim women who have the freedom to choose to wear the scarf or burka chooses to do so she is giving support/cover to the ones that force women to do the same. this is called subjugation and it is rampant in islam but you go ahead and excersise your right to freedom, the women being subjugated are not important. but then i am an ignorant infidel slut so what do i know
leciat June 26, 2011 at 01:25 PM
hmmm...so i work in a suit and tie office....if i get fired for wearing shorts can i sue or do i have to have "god" on my side to do so. freedom of religion does NOT mean that the religious have rights and privileges that the rest of society do not enjoy
leciat June 26, 2011 at 01:35 PM
right staki08 because if i go the ISLAMIC republic of iran or to saudi arabia and ask the ISLAMIC clerics who impose ISLAMIC laws they will tell me that women not being allowed to drive, stoning women for being raped and women not being able to leave their house without a male relative is not islam it is culture they are enforcing and your right big ben women must be protected from “lascivious men and boys” because you know, men can’t help themselves when they see female skin they have to have sex they can not control their animal instincts. The “west” is evil and decadent because they force women to display their bodies to please the evil men. So the answer is to force women to hide from public view as to not incite the poor men
leciat June 26, 2011 at 01:37 PM
or maybe they knew they would face a lawsuit when they fired her because freedom of religion means that the religious have rights that the rest of society does not have
Maryland 7 June 26, 2011 at 02:03 PM
This is exactly the problem with this country. This woman should go back to whatever country she came from if she insists on not complying with OUR culture. Why should A and F change their rules to accomodate HER???? I should start my own religion which calls for sleeping late every day and not needing to be at work on time. My employer wants to fire me? I'll sue!!
Maryland 7 June 26, 2011 at 02:09 PM
Maryland 7 June 26, 2011 at 02:10 PM
Alicia, in fact, I will START shopping there to support their stance. This is how we roll in America.
Maryland 7 June 26, 2011 at 02:12 PM
I just started my own religion last week. I have the right to cuss out my boss for any reason I see fit, and wear sweatpants and gym tee shirts to my corporate job. Don't like it? Fire me and I'll sue!!! Hahahahaha....
nannienu June 26, 2011 at 03:49 PM
Does it kill you that a Muslim women might have her rights infringed upon? If you read the story it says she wore her scarf the whole time! Also, the religion does not say women cannot drive or cannot work. You are thinking of Saudi Arabia a place where there are many laws that restrict people that have nothing to do with the religion. The government there says it is the religion when it actually isnt. I hope you read this comment and so you can learn more about other cultures because clearly right now you have no clue.
nannienu June 26, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Oh Allee I know exactly where you are coming from. I wish there was a like button for your comment
Kitt Lenington June 26, 2011 at 03:59 PM
After you, luv.... For being such a great American you don't know basic worker rights in the workplace. This is blatantly illegal and is covered under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A&F is mandated by FEDERAL law to NOT discriminate - period - regardless of an employee's religion and to make reasonable accommodations. A&F has a past record of these kinds of lawsuits. Private companies, btw, are subject to federal laws in the workplace if they have more than 15 employees. How American is it to not even know your own rights and protections?
nannienu June 26, 2011 at 04:00 PM
I have a few questions about this article. I am from Australia and so I am not certain of the laws within the US but I am very curious about the 'look policy.' A dress code would be one thing, all work places have them. But does a 'look policy' mean all employees have to stick to a certain 'look?' Does this mean that they hire and fire on on the grounds of how attractive someone is? Surely something like that is not legal? As for these comments blasting the Islamic religion. I understand that some Muslims are very strict in their ways but this can be the case in ALL religions. I am a catholic and I know many catholics that are far more extreme than I. I would not want to be judged by outsiders who think I am something which I am not. I am sure everyone feels this way. Wouldnt it be the same for Islamic people? Finally, why would the employers be so slack on their staff and their 'look policy' and suddenly just change their minds? Were they being racist or was it a complete overhall? Maybe their was new management that was sick of all the staff not following the rules. Would it be fair to say that if she were disciplined more harshly than the other staff that she absolutely has a case?
Kitt Lenington June 26, 2011 at 04:01 PM
The links: A&F lawsuit http://ow.ly/5qA0R Federal law: http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/qanda_religion.html
Ross June 26, 2011 at 04:30 PM
@Maryland 7 can you please describe what "our" culture is please? This is America, a cultural melting pot, we don't really have a culture. American culture comes from many different cultures, unless of course you were referring to a white racist culture of feeling entitled to a country that never belonged to you. A country that was stolen from a nation of people that has been marginalized. What is our culture??? I don't think you will or can actually answer this question. In almost positive you'll skirt the question and rant about something else. But if you get around to answering the question I'd like an answer to how a country built on immigration has on culture. PS this isn't your country it's our country meaning everyone that wad born here, white, black, yellow, red, Jew, christian, Muslim, etc
Ross June 26, 2011 at 04:32 PM
Please excise my typos and brevity as I am on my handheld device
Ross June 26, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Learn to practice tolerance instead of hate. But those that hate don't see it as hate, and if you say anything like " this is our country" or "they can go back to where they came from" or " our culture" just know that you are an ignorant racist
Megan Shackelford June 26, 2011 at 05:35 PM
Ileana June 26, 2011 at 05:38 PM
Not everyone who works in the stores would be considered "attractive". The look policy has mostly to do with clothing and grooming. Examples include: No fake nails/acrylics, no facial hair, no facial piercings, no unnatural hair colors etc. Basically we are to look as natural as possible and try to wear styles that they are currently promoting.
Megan Shackelford June 26, 2011 at 05:44 PM
I think the point here is not about whether or not women SHOULD wear head scarves it's about FREEDOM, something that "our country" was supposedly founded on. There's a reason why freedom of religion and speech is the FIRST amendment! Also, I consider myself a feminist on many levels and I am not a Muslim, BUT, I believe that women should have the choice to practice whatever religion they choose and wear what ever they choose, whether it be a head scarf or a revealing tank top. And by the way it is a choice, at least it is in "our culture". Perhaps it's not a choice in the cultures of extremists but this is not about extremists, it's about freedom. Let the girl have her freedom and let her wear whatever she wants.
Ileana June 26, 2011 at 05:46 PM
Well, we're not really allowed to wear jewelry. No necklaces/bracelets/rings. Wedding rings are okay though. Men can't wear earrings, women are only allowed one pair and they must not be the "dangly kind". We can wear studs/hoops, but they must be smaller than a penny.
Ileana June 26, 2011 at 05:50 PM
You'd actually be surprised at how many people in the company don't look anything like that, though I won't lie it helps [if you're interested in being casted/being a company model].
Dotty June 26, 2011 at 05:57 PM
For those of you claiming Islam oppresses women, Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world and they've had a woman president. How many women presidents has the US had? What's that? I, I can't hear you... speak up... how many?? Seriously people, get educated about Islam, women, and American law. Telling Americans to "go back where they came from" is racist. I want to live in America, not AMURRICA!
Maryland 7 June 26, 2011 at 06:30 PM
you are an ignorant racist for not respecting my values. Probably Canadian. Go home, too,
Maryland 7 June 26, 2011 at 06:32 PM
Yes, Ross, all whites are racist. YOu got it!! Ding! What a whiner you are. I am a native american and I have more room to speak than you do, my friend. So get out of MY country with your ignorant statements. Now.
Maryland 7 June 26, 2011 at 06:33 PM
I am openly weeping at your post. You brought me to tears. Sniff Sniff!!!
Maryland 7 June 26, 2011 at 06:34 PM
And A and F should have the right to set rules to run their company and establish a dress code however they would like. Here's a better idea! Let's just ABOLISH all business her in America, and we can all LIVE OFF THE GOVERNMENT!! Yeah!
Maryland 7 June 26, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Actually, I do know the rules. I work in human resources! Sick and TIRED of whiny a$$ed employees and their "rights". How bout this right--you have the right to leave! Businesses will not GROW if they do not have the ability to set rules and decide how they want to run their business.. It is THEIR right. How much was your last welfare check?
Debra June 26, 2011 at 06:37 PM
@nina Psrrilla A store is a PRIVATELY OWNED BUSINESS with PUBLIC access.


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