Muslim woman Samantha Elauf (C), who was denied a sales job at an Abercrombie youngsters shop in Tulsa in 2008. (Reuters image)
WASHINGTON, america: the us perfect court on Monday ruled in favour of a Muslim woman who sued for discrimination after being denied a sales task at age 17 at an Abercrombie & Fitch Co garb save in Oklahoma due to the fact she wore a head headband for spiritual motives.
In an eight-1 choice inside the crucial non secular rights case, the court docket subsidized Samantha Elauf, who had been rejected under Abercrombie’s income personnel “appearance coverage” after coming to her process interview carrying the pinnacle headband, or hijab, utilized by many Muslim girls.
The decision marked a victory for the us identical Employment opportunity fee (EEOC), the federalagency that sued the enterprise on Elauf’s behalf after she became turned down in 2008 at an Abercrombiekids keep in Tulsa.
“Observance of my religion should now not have averted me from getting a activity. i’m happy that I stood up for my rights, and glad that the EEOC become there for me and took my complaint to the courts,” Elauf said in a statement issued via the EEOC.
Elauf to begin with won a $20,000 judgement in opposition to Abercrombie earlier than a federal districtcourt docket. The 10th U.S. Circuit court docket of Appeals in Denver then threw that out, ruling in favour of Abercrombie, before the excessive courtroom sponsored Elauf.
“We welcome this historical ruling in defence of non secular freedom at a time when the yankee Muslimcommunity is going through expanded ranges of Islamophobia,” said Nihad Awad, the countrywide govtdirector of the Council on American-Islamic relations.
Monday’s ruling become the second decision with the aid of the excessive courtroom at some stage inits cutting-edge term in favour of a Muslim alleging discrimination. In January, the justices observed that an Arkansas coverage prohibiting inmates from having beards violated the non secular rights of a prisoner who had wanted to grow one according along with his Muslim beliefs.
The court docket has taken an expansive view of spiritual rights. ultimate year, it sided with a Christian-owned business enterprise that objected on religious grounds to presenting health insurance coveragefor delivery manipulate for ladies.
Abercrombie stated in a statement the case will retain, noting the justices had not ruled that discriminationcame about. “we will decide our next steps inside the litigation,” Abercrombie stated.
non secular accommodation
The ultimate court docket needed to determine whether Elauf turned into required to invite for areligious accommodation to permit her to put on the scarf in order for the agency to be sued below the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which amongst other matters bans employment discrimination primarily based onreligious beliefs and practices.
despite carrying the head headscarf, she did no longer specifically say that, as a Muslim, she desiredthe enterprise to offer her a religious lodging.
In an opinion through Justice Antonin Scalia, the court docket stated Elauf simplest had to reveal that herneed for an accommodation changed into a motivating aspect in Abercrombie’s selection not to rent her.
Justice Clarence Thomas turned into the sole dissenter. He said that “mere utility of a neutral coverage“should no longer be regarded as discrimination.
The corporation‘s “appearance coverage” for members of the income team of workers was meant topromote the brand‘s East Coast collegiate photo.
Abercrombie said that during April it changed that coverage with “a brand new get dressed code that lets in pals to be extra individualistic” at the same time as also changing hiring practices so “attractiveness” isnow not a element.
Muslim companies stated in court papers in support of Elauf that employment discrimination in opposition to Muslims is extensive within the u.s.. frequently, the act of a girl wearing a head scarf triggers the discrimination, they stated.
The EEOC says Muslims report extra employment claims approximately discrimination and the failure tooffer spiritual accommodations than every other non secular organization.
organizations representing Christians, Jews and Sikhs also filed court papers backing Elauf.
Abercrombie had the backing of enterprise businesses consisting of the U.S. Chamber of trade.
The case regarding a young Muslim girl alleging workplace discrimination in the American heartlandturned into determined by using the top U.S. court docket at a time whilst a few Western countries aresuffering with lifestyle clashes regarding accommodating Muslim populations. america has no longer,however, confronted the same tensions as a few eu nations including France.
The case is EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch, U.S. splendid courtroom, No.14-86.
© Thomson Reuters 2015