I Can’t Find A Job

Overeducated, under experienced, and unemployed

Abercrombie Sued Over A Head Scarf

with 7 comments

abercrombieFox News is reporting that the manager of an Abercrombie & Fitch store in Oklahoma refused to hire a 17-year-old Muslim girl because wearing a traditional Muslim headscarf was inconsistent with their look policy.

What is the girl’s reaction? To sue of course. Attorneys for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tulsa and the suit seeks back pay for the teen and an injunction against the company to prevent them from ever doing this again.

There are so many things wrong with this I don’t even know where to begin. First, if you’re such a strict Muslim, why would you work in a store where advertising borders soft-core porn and clothes reveal more than they cover? Second, the company is trying to sell a brand and an image. A hijab simply doesn’t fit into the store’s image nor should it. If they don’t want a hijab to be on one of their brand reps, they don’t have to! It’s their right! It’s like walking into Hooters and demanding that you need to wear head-to-toe Muslim attire with only a slit for your eyes to see out of. How about YOU DON’T WORK THERE and find someplace that’s more accommodating to your lifestyle?

Do you sue Calvin Klein because you’re 400 pounds and they won’t hire you as a model? We’ve already had obese people sue airlines because they forced them to buy two tickets when traveling. Does that mean if you’re morbidly obese you should only have to buy one ticket and the person sitting next to you has to have your rolls on their lap the entire flight because you have “rights?” What about the other person’s damn rights?

This society is teeter-tottering on the verge of collapse because people are afraid to call it like it is and are hyper-alert to being politically correct. It is bogus lawsuits like these that cater to such notions. I can only hope it’s thrown out before it sets precedent for other companies.

What do you think?

Written by icantfindajob

September 19, 2009 at 11:57 am

7 Responses

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  1. Well… actually….

    We have, in Canada and America this thing called “freedom of religion” in addition to “freedom of expression”. Why should a corporation be able to deprive anyone of these two rights, the foundation of democracy itself? Abercrombie and Finch, operating in American soil is forced to obey the laws of the country- things like non descrimination on the basis of religion, etc. And if you think a corporation SHOULD be able to disobey American laws, you can kiss minumum wage, mandatory breaks, and mandatory maximum hour work weeks goodbye.

    In addition….

    A similar case was held in Canada over 20 years ago, and the Muslim man won. The difference was, he didn’t sue the company; he appealed the decision to try and force him to remove his turban in court, and won. The company? The royal Mounted Police, of the famed red and black uniform. Today, no one in Canada really cares if a police officer wears a turban or a hat. For the vast majority of citizens, we’d prefer to keep our rights than enforce people to comply to “company policies” of a dubious nature.

    Finally, let’s face it; a 17 year old girl has limited employment options. In “this economy” even for example, masters students of no doubt excellent work ethics find themselves forced to take low paying, part time retail jobs. How much more trouble would a younger, less experienced, and less educated woman have finding a job? And assuming that the woman is “a strict Muslim” only because she wears a hijaab is not necesarily true. Muslim women of extraordinarily diverse political and philosophical leanings chose to wear a hijab for various reasons– they would not all necessarily disapprove of working at Abercrombie and Finch only because the ads show women in revealing clothing. Now I totally agree with you that this culture of suing is a dubious one. But how else is it possible to force companies to conform to basic civil and economic rights of citizens?

    Believe

    September 20, 2009 at 4:01 pm

  2. @ Believe I couldn’t disagree more. The company isn’t saying she can’t practice her religion or denying her from being a Muslim. In fact, I’d venture to say that if she wanted to pray numerous times during her work schedule, the company would have made arrangements to accomodate her. They just don’t want her to wear a hijab WHEN SHE IS WORKING AND REPRESENTS THE COMPANY AS A “BRAND REP.” The girl wears the clothes and plays a part in representing the company to customers — they should have the right to decide who gets to do it and how it is achieved.

    I’ve actually worked for A & F and the vast majority of people in the stores are high school seniors or college kids. Managers tend to be recent college grads and I’ve never seen or heard of a manager over 30. You can’t be 60 years old and expect to be hired as a “brand rep” for a youthful brand. Nor can you be a Muslim woman that wears a burka and work for a brand that prides itself on tank tops and low cut jeans.

    If this story were about working in Target, for instance, I think the girl would have some merit. But when you have a company that stringently defines itself by the brand reps in its stores – the company actually calls them “models” – a different set of rules should apply.

    You don’t tell Armani what you are going to wear when shooting for their next fashion campaign. They tell you and if you don’t like it, FIND ANOTHER JOB!

    icantfindajob

    September 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm

  3. A&F is not discriminating based on a particular religion. A Sikh male, for example, would also not be able to work there.

    I think it would be prudent for A&F make religious exceptions, but they are probably not breaking the law.

    Should the WNBA make an exception to allow a Muslim to cover up completely instead of the usual uniform? (Rhetorical question posed with the recognition that professional sports is an unusual case.)

    Liquid Egg Product

    September 24, 2009 at 12:25 pm

  4. Hmmm… a tricky one. Now, I do agree that sueing has been exploited; “tit-for-tat-justice” has become an American tradition. Personally, I don’t believe she was discriminated against based upon her religion and/or race. However, it would not be hard to imagine why she may have felt she was a victim of discrimination.

    Based on the article, seems she was not accepted based upon the fact that her overall individual character was not in sync with the company’s image. YET, this where it gets tricky; that basis alone within hiring processes is a recipe for corporate dishonesty.

    It’ll be a hard sell in the court room b/c despite that fact that everybody knows post 9/11 America has turned an antisemetic eye towards the Muslim community; fact remains that A&F has, is, and will surely always be a brand image geared towards the upper middle-class, “All-American”, Anglo-Saxon, Generation X-Y consumer market…. and a characteristically Muslim/Middle-eastern girl simply does not fit into that image unless she were to become a token.

    Where do you think the term, “the token black/indian/white/asian/gay/etc. guy or girl” derived from? Some one was outside of the “norm” or tradition of an organization or group but placed there in order to appease the minority sector and therefore achieving a politically correct image to the public. Speaking of marketing, this is used a clever marketing strategy.

    I mean, for all intense purposes, target marketing is intrinsically biased by nature anyway. It’s a long shot but it doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong here… but a question of principle. How much influence should marketing have in corporate structure and at what cost?

    Cheryl Williams

    September 29, 2009 at 6:10 pm

  5. i actually used to work for Hollister, which is pretty much the same thing, but anyways I think that the company has a certain image they want to maintain and it begins with the personnel that work there. when you become an employee at hco/A&F/kids/gilly hicks youre pretty much signing up to represent a brand. they have the AAA program where you can buy the newest clothes for half off so you can tell your friends ‘yo check im wearing the new plaid shirt from abercrombie’ and generate buzz therefore the company getting more sales.

    the clothes have to be modeled in a certain way to fit the policy that the company has. they tell you from the interview before hiring you ‘hey here is our look policy you cant have this you cant have that’ and if you want the job you need to adhere in order to work there, plus they do it so customers can identify who the employees are because they don’t have name tags.

    relating to the article, if the girl actually had religious views she wouldn’t even bother applying for the job. i am a baptized orthodox christian, when i wore my chain and pedant(the crucifix) [which was given to me by my godmother on the day of my baptism] the managers asked me to remove it, even though it was hidden under my shirt. why? because they want everyone to be equal and they don’t want religion to have a factor in the workplace or their brand all together. however we must realize that A&F is built on white prep culture and i think (although i dislike their brands) that its ridiculous that so many mixed people are seeking lawsuits because the brand wont hire them, seriously A&F is not supposed to be for everybody.

    what A&F should get sued for is their mark ups on mid-tier quality garments.

    DudeBro

    June 13, 2010 at 2:31 am

  6. what A&F should have done is hired the girl, and every time she doesn’t adhere to the dress code they should write her up. after so many write ups then she should have been fired. after all if a caucasian guy working at A&F shows up to work not in the proper uniform, with a beard or looking as if they just woke up, they are sent home. A&F needs to enforce a no religious artifact policy much like France’s school polices, anyone wearing any type of religious item should be told to take it off or go home. either everyone should have the right or no one should, no exceptions.

    guyman

    June 13, 2010 at 11:49 am

  7. Thank you for posting this story. This is incredibly frustrating to myself and many Americans in general. The fact that people will sue a corporation just out of greed, and not caring about the implications or effects that it will have on the rest of the population. For example when a person wins a 40 million dollar pay out from a corporation, who is it that pays? The CONSUMER which is you and me.
    AnF has employees called “models” who are hired to dress and represent the brand. If you are going to be a model you wear what you are told, not what you “have the right to wear”.

    Besides if she was truly a practicing Muslim why would she want to work at Abercrombie (to get the discount on the clothing haha), because there are plenty of stores that pay exactly the same and don’t call their employees models (for example JC Penny’s, Macy’s)

    Any person who thinks this is discrimination is a couple bricks short of a road. Any person who thinks this is anything other than a frivolous lawsuit is a few fries short of a happy meal.

    Nathan

    June 27, 2010 at 3:09 am


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