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Abercrombie and Fitch Fires Woman for Wearing Hijab

Abercrombie and Fitch Fires Woman for Wearing Hijab

There have been several cases over the past few months about employers’ right to dictate whether their workers can wear headscarves for religious reasons, and on Monday, a California woman will add her complaint to the growing roster. †Hani Khan, who worked in the stockroom of a Hollister store in San Mateo, and is planning to file a lawsuit against the store’s parent company, Abercrombie & Fitch, alleging that she was fired for refusing to take off her headscarf.

Khan, a college student living in the Bay Area, worked in the Hollister stockroom for over a year. †During that time, she wore white, gray or navy headscarves, which she had agreed to do when she took the job. †After a district manager visited the store, however, she was asked by the parent corporation to remove her headscarf, which apparently did not align with Hollister’s “look policy.” †When she refused, she was fired.

In February 2010, Khan filed a federal complaint, with the help of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). †When the case went public, Abercrombie & Fitch apparently offered her the job back, on condition that she stayed in the stockroom; she refused.

Now, with the help of the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco and the San Francisco district office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Khan is suing Abercrombie & Fitch. †This certainly isn’t a new experience for the company, which has been charged in the past for many different kinds of discrimination.

In an interview last year, Khan took the company to task for claiming that it had a diverse, inclusive work environment. “Their policy says they do not discriminate, but thatís not true,” she said. †”I am proof of that. They donít hire people with scarves to work in manager positions. The girls who do wear scarves, work in the back.”

You have to wonder how many lawsuits it will take before a store like Abercrombie & Fitch decides that its supposedly “all-American” look needs to be updated just a tad. †It’s encouraging, however, to see people like Khan standing up for their rights and fighting against corporate entities that can seem so unjust, and yet so immovable.

Photo from Alan Denney’s Flickr photostream.

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185 comments

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8:31AM PST on Nov 6, 2011

It's very simple. Islam is dangerous and Sharia Law is ridiculous.

2:31AM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

Ah, geez, Scott, took you long enough to respond. What, an hour? I don't think I said Islam was a "crack-pot" religion, but it is a religion, and religious attire, when it's specific, has no place in the work place. I asked before, and will ask again, where does the employer draw the line? The headgarb, as I've heard it described, isn't even religious, but cultural. Doesn't matter as far as I'm concerned, since the excuses FOR allowing it seem to focus on "freedom of religion". This is really getting old, and the arguments defending her RIGHT to do what she wants in a private (not public) estabishment are getting boring.

12:04AM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

Diane. Islam is not a "leaf wearing crack pot religion", it is the second largest and fastest growing religion and hijab is a commandment of God for Muslims. I wonder why it is so important for you to slander Islam. Please just 'live and let live'.

Annmari. Islam forbids proselytising. There is no compulsion to embrace Islam or to stay in it once you have converted.

Islam teaches that all Great Faiths are of God and worthy of admiration and that we must deal with even atheists with the same kindness that an ideal Muslim shows their ideal parents.

The havoc in the world in not from the Holy Teachings which enjoin the good and forbid evil. It is from the lack of morality which religion can remedy.

Terrorism is not Islam; the recent attacks are clearly 'false flag'. I suggest you research properly about them. The vast majority of Americans do not believe the official garbage.

The Holy Quran is representative of Islam and it is perfect in its teaching. If a human does not obey these lofty principles they are not behaving as a Muslim and Islam cannot be blamed for those acts which it forbids.

9:18PM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

" think they should be able to wear their head."...really, Carol R? Nobody suggests they be be-headed! I disagree that their attire is religious, and even if it was, the workplace is inappropriate for wearing such attire when it attracts attention. Nudists claim they have a "right" to practice that as a "religion" so should they be allowed to show up for work nude? What about someone who worships rocks or trees and shows up covered with nothing but leaves all over their body? Lots of crack-pot "religions" out there, so where would it end? I think wearing a crucifex is one thing, and I have many "crosses" that are gemstone pendants. They're accessories, not a symbol of faith, however.

11:12AM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

I think they should be able to wear their head. It is not disrespectful to anyone but is their freedom of religion.

7:48AM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

Lydia S.:
"No Scott, the greatest mischief, RIGHT NOW, all over the world -- is because MUSLIMS who "follow allah" and "mohammed" and the "koran" – insist on shoving their "beliefs" down the throats of those who do not wish to be part of the cult of islam!

Or if that doesn't work, slitting the throats of those who refuse to convert, or beheading those they accuse of "blasphemy" or "apostasy" or some other "crime" against "islam"!

"Mischief" doesn't come close to describing the havoc that islam is wreaking all over the world! On any given day, some "devout muslim" detonates himself in a crowd of innocent people, to shouts of "allahu akhbar", "God is the greatest" … and leaves countless lives SHATTERED! Children orphaned; women widowed; men dismembered, mosques, churches, synagogues, etc, covered in blood & body parts!

Indeed, these violations happen because imams, ayatollahs, etc., quote the koran and tell them this is what they must do to become "martyrs" & enter "paradise"!"

I couldn't have said it better myself! Thanks Lydia!

9:59PM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

Pego, I don't know why this is so important to you, but with all due respect for YOU, I won't respond any further in this discussion to you. I don't think this is a case of discrimination at all. It's just a PRIVATE company exercising their right to dictate what is or is not acceptable in THEIR work place. If it's distracting to other employees, it's entirely their right to ask the employee (who doesn't even work there anymore.......she QUIT) to not wear religious garb or work in another department where it is not an issue. She refused both options and she was given the choices. If she was a nudist and decided to show up for work in the nude because that was her "religion", would it have been her "right"? What if she or another employee showed up in a thong bikini (I asked that before) and nobody seemed to find it relevant. Yes, it's relevant........if the attire is not customary where the job is, or is attracting undue attention and distracting other employees from doing THEIR jobs, the employer should have every right to ask that the employee wearing such attire not do so (or wear clothing if the case is that he/she isn't).

4:28PM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

Do you really want to give rights to corporations and your neighbor that will allow and encourage them to behave badly?

We saw this crap with the last period of segregation, that businesses are both stupid enough to throw away business on their own bigotries AND so cowardly that they will fire people on the mirage of possible lost of business..

So, the choice before us is whether we want Jim Crow back again and actually leave legal gates wide open to encourage the worse behavior in our businesses. Once this is allowed, businesses are once again encouraged in their honor less stupidity. As the law CURRENTLY stands businesses are not actually supposed to do this, they allow no room for race/religion/marital status/age ect. to be prevented from work including the wearing of crosses and yarmulkes (the Jewish beanie cap)

1:48AM PDT on Sep 3, 2011

Sorry, Pego, I am not familiar with those terms, but as far as freedom of religion and speech, I think it's a far different thing. We have a guaranteed freedom OF religion and also FROM religion, but Abercrombie & Fitch is a private company (or corporation) which has a right to dictate what their employees can or can't wear in the workplace. Nobody forces anyone to work there, and she wasn't fired for religious beliefs, not even fired in the first place. She was told she could either NOT wear religious garb or work in another department where it didn't matter, and she refused the offer and chose to quit and then make a bit issue out of it.

11:46AM PDT on Sep 2, 2011

Diane and Lydia

I recall, if you don't, the whole legal kerfuffle around wearing of yarmulkes, and the following suits around wearing of crosses blah blah blah. All those were settled in the direction of freedom of speech and religion. WHY is this any different?

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