Abercrombie & Fitch vs. the Hijab
LFO’s classic song ‘Summer Girls’ claims “I like girls that wear Abercrombie & Fitch” but it seems the Supreme Court doesn’t agree. The Ohio based retailer is under fire after the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought a case against them with the accusation that they refused to hire a Muslim woman.
This isn’t the first time the company, which is closely associated with preppy white boys with shaved pecs and overwhelming cologne smells, is put in question for their employment and discrimination practices, but it seems like they don’t learn. The case, which actually started in 2008, claims that Samantha Elauf applied and interviewed for a part-time sales worker position for an Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during which she acquired a score high enough to consider her for the position.
However everything changed when it came to score her in the “appearance and sense of style” category, and since hijabs are apparently not sexy enough for the A&F, Elauf wasn’t hired. Elauf’s case was picked up by the EEOB as a discriminatory case, but to be fair A&F wasn’t trying to be deliberately racist, it’s just that hats aren’t an allowed part of the employee’s look. Right, because a hijab and a beanie are one in the same.
They’re also trying to pin it on Elauf, who didn’t mention that her headpiece was part of a religious practice and not a sartorial choice, which would’ve changed the way that they approached her ‘look’. However lawyers of the EEOC told The Guardian that "by holding that an employer may discriminate against a job applicant or employee based on practices that the employer correctly believes to be religious, so long as the employer does not have ‘actual knowledge’ of the need for religious accommodation…opened a safe harbor for religious discrimination.”
Abercrombie claims to be a retailer for classic American casual wear, but if its long history of discrimination is anything to go by they clearly have no idea what the “American” looks like. (Hint: they’re not all jacked blonde-blue-eyed water polo players)