06/03/2015 // JusticeNewsFlash // (press release)
Washington – The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Muslim woman who was denied a job after showing up to an interview at an Abercrombie & Fitch store wearing a headscarf. The justices ruled that employers were generally required to make accommodations for workers with religious needs if they have an idea that such accommodations may be necessary. The Associated Press reports that although the job applicant Samantha Elauf did not tell the interviewer what her religion was, Justice Antonin Scalia said in an opinion for seven justices that the retailer “at least suspected” that the scarf had been worn for religious purposes.
Elauf was 17 at the time she applied for a job with Abercrombie at an Oklahoma based store in 2008. The hijab she wore violated the Look Policy implemented at the store at the time. The policy has since been changed with regard to headscarves, and the company has settled additional lawsuits in other areas.
Elauf was awarded $20,000 in a lawsuit filed on her behalf by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A federal appeals court in Denver threw out the award; however, ruling that the retail chain could not be held liable because the job applicant never requested that the store’s policy be relaxed.