Abercrombie & Fitch Loses Court Case

kim kardashian

Abercrombie & Fitch loses in court battle of religious freedoms.

The popular teen store has fallen under major heat the last few years, between the 12 percent drop in sales in its third quarter last year, to its former CEO fat-shaming anyone who can’t fit into the store’s clothes.

The company owns Abercrombie Kids, Hollister Co., Ruehl No. 295 and Gilly Hicks. Each store has its own specialty, ranging from leather goods, lingerie and clothing. Despite these differences, these stores portray similar brand representatives, who dress and act the same.

This lack of individuality is being credited as the reason that the brand has not been doing so hot.

On Monday the Supreme Court ruled on a court case between Samantha Elauf who was represented by US Equal Employment Opportunity Comission vs. Abercrombie & Fitch. The case argued that the right to discriminate against Elauf for wearing headger. The store argued that by allowing her to wear it would, “cause an undue burden on the conduct of its business.”

The press release of the case said, “The EEOC had charged that Abercrombie Kids failed to hire Samantha Elauf for a sales position because she wore a hijab, or head scarf, in observance of her sincerely held religious beliefs.”

These rules and many more are laid out in the stores “Look Policy”.

In September 2013, The Huffington Post reported on a Hollister, which is owned by Abercrombie, employee named Anna Zakhlyebayeva, who was forced to remove her cross necklace on her first day of work.

Zakhlyebayeva told The Huffington Post, “I am still ashamed for taking my cross, a sacred symbol of my faith, rolling it up into a mess, and shoving it into my pocket just to live up to Hollister’s extremely discriminatory Look Policy.”

Abercrombie is all about image, and displaying the type of image that they think people want to see, and will make them buy their clothing.

The Huffington Post said, “according to store employees, any number of violations can get workers reprimanded, sent home or fired: a decal on a fingernail, a 5 o’clock shadow, hair highlights, traces of eyeliner.”

Other things that are considered a violation are too many piercings and fingernails past a certain length.

But these rules are just a small part of the way that Abercrombie discriminates its employees.

According to Quartz, “Abercrombie & Fitch is arguing that if Elauf wanted an exemption to the no-hats policy on religious grounds, she should have asked for one.”

But if such a thing is so easy to request then there wouldn’t already be so many cases against the store.

The articles goes onto explain the lengthy measures that the store will go to in order to make sure that their employees keep up with the policy. This includes secret shoppers, cameras and strict managers.

Another employee, Hani Khan, sued Abercrombie for firing her after she didn’t take off her hijab while she was working. A federal judge ruled that, “Abercrombie acted with malice, reckless indifference or in the face of a perceived risk that its actions violated federal law.”

Despite Abercrombie’s defense, they were in violation of the law.

According to Politicio, “Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act specifies that employers must provide ‘reasonable accommodation without undue hardship.’ Abercrombie contends the burden should fall on the employee since the employee is most familiar with his or her persona beliefs.”

These rules and regulations stop before they reach the corporate offices. There employees have more relaxed rules, and they are not fired for expressing their religion through their attire.

This is not the first case of discrimination that the store has made, but hopefully it will be the last.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla

About Taylor Brown

I have known for many years that writing was my passion, and through exploring this dream I've found my a strong interest in fashion. When I'm not doing that I try and work through my Netflix queue, and go shopping online.

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