The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch alleging the brand refused to hire a woman because of her Muslim headscarf. For those in need of a refresher, this is the second time they’ve been sued for the same issue.
In June 2008, a Muslim teenager was refused a job at one of the company’s stores because her hijab — or headscarf — violated Abercrombie’s “Look Policy.” And yes, the interviewer actually told her that. The EEOC filed suit on her behalf — the outcome of which is still unknown.
What’s scary, though, is how similar the last case is to this one. From WWD:
In the lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that during an interview with an 18-year-old woman who applied for a job stocking merchandise in a California abercrombie kids store, the store manager asked the applicant if she was Muslim and was required to wear a head scarf. The woman was wearing a head scarf during the interview, according to the EEOC. The complaint alleged that the manager wrote “not Abercrombie look” on the woman’s application. The alleged incident took place at a store in the Great Mall in Milpitas, Calif.
It’s probably worth mentioning that in February 2010, a 19-year-old was fired from a Hollister — which is owned by Abercrombie & Fitch — in San Mateo, California for wearing her headscarf, despite being in compliance with the store’s Look Policy which dictated she wear “either a white, navy or gray-colored scarf.”
And, finally, let’s not forget the $40 million Abercrombie & Fitch has already paid out to black, Hispanic and Asian employees after settling a discrimination case which claimed the company promoted white employees at the expensive of minorities.
For their part, Abercrombie claims they have “a policy of equal employment opportunity and makes every reasonable attempt to accommodate the religious practices of associates and applicants.” In other words, they don’t think they did anything wrong.
While we’re not lawyers, nor are we privy to any of the details, Abercrombie’s track record isn’t doing it any favors. And considering they’re closing 60 national stores in order to focus on international expansion, they might want to be a little more lenient in terms of the ethnicity, religion, and, well, rights, of their employees.