Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc,

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc,



Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc,


Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc, 2008

Brief Summary of the Facts

            Samantha Elauf, 17, a Muslim woman was denied a job with Abercrombie & Fitch Stores as a model for wearing a headscarf during the interview. She was considered to have scored poorly in the interview as her headscarf violated the company policy, which was against employees wearing hats (Zavaletta, Jones & Bagley, 2006)


Is an employer is allowed to base hiring decisions on someone’s religious beliefs and practices?


            The Vote was 8-1, and there was a dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas.

Majority Reasoning

  1. The employer violated the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which outlaws the discrimination of people when hiringbased on religion, race, color, and nativity (Wright, 2006). The defendant denied the plaintiff an employment opportunity based on religion. The fact that she wore a headscarf showed she professed the Islam faith.
  2. An employer is required to accommodate an employee’s or prospective religious practices and beliefs. The only exception to this should be when accommodating the employee’s religion would bring about hardships.


            The Title VII does not warrant any employer to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs and practices unless he has been notified prior that the dress code is on religious grounds. In his dissent, Justice Clarence states that the company had an established dress code that should not be used as a ground for a discrimination lawsuit.

Rule of law

            Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Discriminating or basing the hiring decision on a prospective employee’s or employee’s religious background or beliefs and practices is illegal.


            The case was appealed, and the court of appeal overturned the $20,000 award to Ms. Elauf. The main argument is that Abercrombie had prior knowledge of Ms. Elauf religious background and dress code. However, it was against the company’s Look Policy (Frank, Stephen & Bahaudin, 2013).


Frank, J. C., Stephen, C. M., & Bahaudin, G. M. (January 01, 2013). Appearance discrimination in employment: Legal and ethical implications of “lookism” and “lookphobia”.Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: an International Journal, 32, 1, 83-119.

Wright, S. (2006). The Civil Rights Act of 1964. New York: Rosen Pub. Group.

Zavaletta, J., Jones, J., & Bagley, C. (2006). Managers and the legal environment, strategies for the 21st century, fifth edition [by] Constance E. Bagley, Diane W. Savage. Mason, OH: Thomson/West.

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