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Abercrombie sued over firing of Muslim woman with head scarf

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Courtesy of: The Columbus Dispatch
By Tim Feran

Abercrombie & Fitch faces a lawsuit alleging that it fired a Muslim employee at one of its Hollister stores for wearing a head scarf.

The lawsuit filed yesterday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that 19-year-old Umme-Hani Khan started working at the Hollister store in San Mateo, Calif., in October 2009. Khan, who worked mainly in the stockroom, was asked to wear head scarves only in Hollister colors.

However, in February 2010, she was told that her scarf, or Hijab, violated Abercrombie’s employee dress code, and she was fired for refusing to remove it. “Ms. Khan held a low-visibility position, willingly color-coordinated her head scarf with the store’s brand and capably performed her stockroom duties for four and a half months until a visiting manager flagged her Hijab as a violation of their ‘look policy,’” said Michael Baldonado, director of the federal anti-discrimination agency’s San Francisco District, in a statement. Abercrombie said it did nothing wrong. “We comply with the law regarding reasonable religious accommodation, and we will continue to do so,” Abercrombie’s general counsel, Ronald A. “Rocky” Robins Jr., said in a statement.

Comments from Tijernia Law Firm: Obviously, the problem in proving a wrongful discharge is examining the true reason for the firing. In the case as above, the obvious reason seems one of wrongful dismissal based on attire. Many employers present a dress code policy prior to employment. Whether or not that is your case, having a knowledgeable attorney review a potential case requires work on the clients part as well. Proof can take the form of not only explicit statements but can also be based on timing of the discharge and patterns of similar history. If you feel that your employment will be threatened because of an on the job injury you have sustained, or even a charge in your current family situation we would suggest that you make every effort to write down and/or record statements by supervisors and/or other employees that you feel may have a bearing on your case. The better prepared you are, the better prepared your case will fair in a court of law. We are here to assist in determining if you have a case and how to approach your situation. Having to deal with the burden of lost wages is stressful enough. Having to deal with a potential lawsuit is why one leaves it to the experts.



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