Abercrombie loses yet another discrimination lawsuit
A federal judge rules the mall retailer wrongly fired a Muslim employee for wearing a hijab, for the second time in 3 years.
For the second time in three years, Abercrombie has lost a court battle involving a case in which it fired a hijab-wearing Muslim worker for not conforming to its ideal vision for employee aesthetics. In the latest case, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled Monday that Abecrombie violated federal law when it fired Hani Khan from a Hollister store in San Mateo, Calif., in 2010 after she refused to take off her hijab.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Abercrombie on behalf of Khan in 2011, noting that the company had no problem with the garment when she wore it at a job interview and seemed just fine letting her wear it for the first four months she was employed there. The court will decide what the company owes Khan in September.
The loss should come as little surprise to Abercrombie & Fitch, whose lawyer was lambasted by Judge Yavonne Gonzalez Rogers in June for not presenting any documented evidence that Khan cost the company money by wearing her hijab to work. That same attorney, Mark Kneuve, also took the loss in 2011 when another hijab-wearing Abercrombie employee successfully sued the company for wrongful dismissal and collected $20,000 for her trouble.
In fairness to Abercrombie, it's absolutely terrible at picking its battles and fighting off discrimination claims after those battles are fought. In August, a federal judge in Denver ruled that its Hollister chain discriminated agaist customers in wheelchairs by making its front-porch-themed storefronts accessible only by stairs. The judge ruled the chain has until Jan. 1, 2017, to rebuild the entrances so they're wheelchair accessible, which requires upgrading storefronts at a rate of 77 per year, according to the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition.
But all this exclusion is just status quo at Abercrombie, thanks largely to the idiosyncratic meddling of chief executive Michael Jeffries. The CEO once famously dictated that his clientele comprises solely "the cool kids." He also requires the staff of his private jet to wear only boxer briefs and flip-flops and to play Phil Collins' "Take Me Home" on all return flights.
This was all fairly standard in the early 2000s, when wearing an apparel company's logo across your chest or posterior like a human billboard was fashionable. Today, when teens are having a tough time finding mall jobs and have little disposable income to throw at stores that disdain them, Abercrombie is suffering. Profits dropped 33% last quarter from the same time a year ago. Overall sales dropped 8%, with Hollister sales alone falling 13%.
Exactly how discriminating against employees and customers helps bolster those sagging numbers is anybody's guess. If Abercrombie's culture keeps churning out courtroom results like this, that discriminating "look policy" might have to be revised to accommodate sheets of plywood and "out of business" signs.
When you sign off on the rules and regulations in the employee handbook, do you not agree to abide by the rules of the company?
Maybe the owner should hire a better HR manager. If you dont want to see one of your employees wearing a hijab you dont hire them in the first place. You dont come out and tell them you cant hire them because of the hijab. You just say she lacks the retail experience they are looking for or something that cant be interpreted as disciminatory
IF a Muslim worked in a pork processing plant, could they not be fired for refusing to handle pork?
Hey skeets, if you bothered to READ the article, she wore it to her job interview and for 4 MONTHS AFTER SHE WAS HIRED. THAT, makes it the companies problem, because if they didn't like what she was wearing at the interview, they didn't have to hire her.
As for being under company rules, CEOs and managers ARE NOT GODS. Their word is NOT law.
How would YOU like to go to work every day [I am assuming that YOU can keep a job] and be called nasty names, pinched on your butt or elsewhere, have the boss make sexual passes at YOU, and then being fired for wanting to be treated like a human being?? I DON'T THINK YOU'D LIKE IT MUCH.
"The CEO once famously dictated that his clientele comprises solely "the cool kids." He also requires the staff of his private jet to wear and to play Phil Collins' "Take Me Home" on all return flights."
And yet they wonder why "the cool kids" aren't shopping there anymore....
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