CAIR spikes the football.
The Supreme Court ruled against the retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, 8-1, deciding that the company’s failure to accommodate a job applicant who wore a hijab violated civil rights law.
The clothing chain declined to hire Samantha Elauf in 2008 as a sales associate because her hijab violated the company’s “look policy,” which at the time prohibited employees from wearing head coverings. Elauf was never informed of the “look policy.” Elauf filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit against Abercrombie, prompting the retailer to deny its policy was discriminatory because its ban prohibited all types of headgear and therefore was not based on religion. (Abercrombie has since changed its “look policy” to allow for headgear, including hijabs, which are a type of headscarf.)
Abercrombie also argued that it was up to Elauf to request accommodation. Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, employers must provide “reasonable accommodation without undue hardship.” The question before the court was whether the employer bore responsibility to provide that accommodation even when the employee — or in this case, prospective employee — did not ask for one. The high court ruled that it did, reversing a decision from the Tenth Circuit.