US & Canada

US Muslim in Abercrombie hijab court win

Samantha Elauf leaves the Supreme Court after the trial's opening arguments in February Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Samantha Elauf leaves the Supreme Court after the trial's opening arguments in February

The US Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a Muslim woman who was denied a job because of her headscarf.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co refused to hire Samantha Elauf because her dress violated the clothing retailer's "Look Policy" for sales staff.

Ms Elauf wore a hijab at interview but did not say she was Muslim.

But Justice Antonin Scalia said the retailer "at least suspected" that she wore a headscarf for religious reasons and she did not need to make a request.

US law requires that employers must "reasonably accommodate" an employee's religious beliefs, as long as it does not provide an undue hardship to the business.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Muslim women rally outside the courthouse for the right to wear a headscarf at work

"I was a teenager who loved fashion and was eager to work for Abercrombie & Fitch," said Ms Elauf in a statement after the court released its decision.

Ms Elauf was 17 years old when the discrimination occurred during a job interview at a shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2008.

"Observance of my faith should not have prevented me from getting a job. I am glad that I stood up for my rights", she said after the ruling.

In an 8-1 verdict, the court ruled that Abercrombie had violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on religious beliefs and practices.

Groups representing Jews, Sikhs, Christian, gay, and lesbian rights organisations filed papers in court in solidarity with Ms Elauf, who told reporters she sought to protect the rights of people of all faiths at work.

In 2013 Abercrombie & Fitch Co settled with two American Muslim women who were targeted by management for their use of the hijab. Each woman was awarded $71,000 (£47,000).

Abercrombie & Fitch Co has since reversed its policy on headscarves.

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