[UPDATED with "Victim" Speaking:] Muslim Worker Told to Remove Hijab Sues Abercrombie & Fitch

hijab-styles-200.jpg
UPDATE, JUNE 27, 11:52 A.M.: The Muslim woman at the center of a lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch over being forced to remove her hijab while working in the stockroom of a Hollister Co. store in San Mateo spoke at this morning's press conference.

"When I was asked to remove my scarf after being hired with it on, I was demoralized and felt unwanted," Hani Khan said at the the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center in San Francisco. "Growing up in this country where the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of religion, I have felt let down."

It was alleged at the press conference that when Khan was initially hired in October 2009, she was told her hijab would not be in conflict with the company's "look policy" so long as she wore it in company colors. Despite complying with the request, in February 2010 a district manager and corporate human resources manager are accused of asking her to remove her hijab while working.

Khan was suspended and then terminated when she refused to comply with the request, and asserted her right to religious accommodation, according to the complaint. She filed a complaint with the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which in September issued a determination that Khan was wrongfully terminated. Negotiations aimed at a settlement broke off in January.

"When we first received Ms. Khan's complaint, it was the explicitness of Abercrombie & Fitch's discriminatory demands which concerned us," Zahra Billoo, executive director of CAIR's Bay Area office, said today. "They were both egregious and illegal. For an employer to, point-blank, require an employee to relinquish their religious practice is a violation of our cherished civil rights laws."

Added Araceli Martinez-Olguin, staff attorney with the legal aid group,  "Abercrombie & Fitch cannot hide behind a 'Look Policy' to justify violating Ms. Khan's civil rights. Their refusal to accommodate her wearing her hijab is not only unlawful, but un-American."

Speaking of un-American, since taking on the Abercrombie & Fitch policy, Kahn has reportedly received death threats.

Her suit seeks unspecified monetary damages and an order to bring Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch into compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made it unlawful to discriminate against employees on the basis of religion, including "all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief." The clothing retailer must also comply with the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, according to the complaint, which you can download here.

Abercrombie & Fitch has not yet reacted to the lawsuit, but the Albany, Ohio-based company previously said Khan's hijab was not a part of their "All-American look" policy, something the EEOC and the ex-worker's suit seek to abolish. Federal civil rights cases have previously been opened against Abercrombie & Fitch for its orders that Muslim women remove their headscarves in Milpitas, California, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Thumbnail image for Boudlal 1.jpg
Imane Boudlal
ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 27, 8:57 A.M.: For awhile, Orange County seemed to be the center of the Forced Hijab Removal Universe. There was the Muslim woman who the courts ultimately sided with in her legal battle against sheriff's jailers who made her remove her religious headscarf. Disneyland had hijab incidents involving two females: an intern who was allowed to wear her head scarf unscathed and cast member Imane Boudlal,  who was told she most don a modified version.

Well, move over, OC: San Mateo is cutting in on the action.

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center are holding a news conference in San Francisco this morning to announce a lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch.


An unidentified Muslim woman, who is set to join her lawyers at the 10 a.m. press event, worked in the stockroom at a Hollister Co. store in the Hillsdale mall in San Mateo for several months in 2009-2010 before being fired--according to the complaint--for failing to remove her hijab. Though she wore the head scarf based on a religious mandate, she was allegedly told it was not in compliance with the company's "look policy." Hollister is a brand of Abercrombie & Fitch.

The woman's suit is being filed in conjunction with one filed against Abercrombie & Fitch by the San Francisco District Office of the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
My Voice Nation Help
43 comments
Leslie Dawn
Leslie Dawn

In Saudi Arabia they let young girls burn to their deaths rather than leave a burning building without a head scarf.  In Saudi Arabia the penalty for apostates is death.  In Saudi Arabia they allow no one but Sunni Muslims to become citizens.  Women there must wear headscarfts.  In Iran they kill gay people.  The penalty for apostates is death.  In Egypt Lara Logan was raped because she was not wearing Islamic clothing.  So far I have observed that all Islamic terrorists or their mothers wear head scarfs.  Sorry but as an educated Western woman Islamic headscarfs terrorize me.  Ban all head scafs!

Asdhj
Asdhj

 In the 2011 NBA Draft, Jordan shoes the defending champion Dallas Mavericks figured to Air Jordan 2011 add a prospect to eventually fill their need at small forward down the line.

But, Air Jordan Retro despite grabbing a potential steal at No. 26 overall with Texas small forward Jordan Hamilton, air jordan 1 Retro the Mavericks traded Hamilton for Portland Trail Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez, air jordan 1 black presumably adding an outside shooter to help them repeat in 2011-2012.

Now, air jordan 3 Retro it's been reported that the Spanish Fernandez air jordan 4 Retro has been offered a six-year, air jordan 5 Retro $26.1 million contract by Real Madrid.air jordan 6 Retro The contract would allow Fernandez to stay with the Mavericks Air Jordan Retro 8 after the current NBA lockout for at least the end of next season, Air Jordan 9 Retro but after that he would head overseas.

There are no details on whether Fernandez Nike Shoes Wholesale is thinking about accepting yet, but if he does, Nike dunks for sale the Mavericks' draft-day trade could prove to end up a stinker Nike Dunk High Sale.

Ihatehypocrites
Ihatehypocrites

Looks like people are missing the point. While I am not a lover of the hijab and what it stands for, the fact is that the company violated its own policy. She was hired with the hijab in plain view, and was told it was not in violation of the company's policy as long as it was in company colors. Everyone agreed, happy happy. They violated her rights when, AFTER SHE WAS HIRED, forced her to remove it. That is where the problem lies. If they had a problem with her wearing it, then they should have told her BEFORE she accepted the job that the hijab (or any head covering, tattoo, piercing, cross or whatever) was not acceptable dress on the job. Then she could have decided at that time whether or not to accept the job. You want to make it about the religion, and maybe it is from the perspective of the individual company representatives who told her to remove it. But when they're in the courtroom, it will be about the policy, and the "victim" will win. You'll see. This is why companies need to cover their you-know-whats right up front.

Annabanana
Annabanana

What shallow people think wearing a napkin on their head should be a protected religious act?So silly.

Bob Obb
Bob Obb

Sue those motherfucker to hell and back!

NeoTechni
NeoTechni

Speaking of unamerican, the hijab is a symbol of female oppression and forced upon women. It is not a choice they made. Muslim women are frequently killed for not wearing it. In some countries, the hijab is illegal because of how evil it is. She should be glad companies are sticking up for her by asking her to take it off in america

Sanddancer
Sanddancer

Guys, don't be too upset at the hatemongers. They're just upset at how hard it is to find Klan robes this day and age.

Meloenvias
Meloenvias

Great content! 

I created a site that lets users share info on stuff like movies/documentaries, books, websites, etc. regarding important causes like this one. Check it out here:

www.thechangeexchange.org

Monstrosity
Monstrosity

One of these days Americans will understand that radical Islam is the enemy of the U.S and freedom loving people of the world. Those people in the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Shiite and Wahabi sects of Islam want you dead. If you are not a muslim you don't have the right to breathe Allah's good air as far as they are concerned. You are an infidel and worthy of death. These suicide bombings you read about are not done by christians, jews, hindus or buddhists. One of these days Americans will figure it out but by then it will be too late.

grateful
grateful

thanks muslims for storming normandy and fighting the japs. You saved our nation.

Outsider
Outsider

The beauty of at-will employment is that you can be fired for anything and nothing. If the dress code of your employer violates your religious beliefs, then don't work there. Amish women don't work as swimsuit models, because that it beyond what their consciences will allow. So, if Abercombie's dress code "look" policy doesn't allow a head scarf, DON'T WORK AT ABERCROMBIE. The other beauty of at-will employment is that you can QUIT anytime you like, too. 

Bill T.
Bill T.

Shame on you for reading the article for content and understanding the issues! You didn't even bring up the War of the Roses and how it proves that Muslims can't be real Americans!

Bill T.
Bill T.

It's fairly safe to assume that many of your beliefs would seem silly to me, and many of my beliefs would seem silly to you. So what?

Guest
Guest

That's obviously not the case for every Muslim woman.  Many of them see it as a part of their religion and don't want to take it off because they have been raised that way.  The company wasn't doing her any favors, they just asked her to take it off because it doesn't fit their look.

Guest
Guest

You forgot the /s. Don't worry I'll put it in for you.

/s

Guest
Guest

First, have you never heard of the IRA? True you never do read about them, mostly because here in america Muslims are the enemy and reporting on any christian group doing anything bad is seen as wrongsecond, that link just goes to a link about a Pakistani guy who is marrying 2 different women, since christian Mormans follow the same ideology

Educated
Educated

Just wanted to point out that you were correct in saying "radical."  Highly doubt that the person in this case practices along with those radical beliefs.  She wouldn't be in America if she did.  Also, the percentage of Muslim people who are a part of that radical sect is about the same as the percentage of Christians who want to lynch every person who isn't white, male, and Christian, as well.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

You know what? Fundamentalists from ALL religions have that same basic attitude:

1) If you are not of my faith, you are sub-human scum.-AND-2) The only purpose of a woman is to be a wife and mother. Wanting to do/be anything else is against our god.

I've heard the same basic rhetoric from Christian, Jewish and Islamic fundamentalists alike. I detest them all equally. It is really unfair to say that Islam is so much more inherently violent and repressive than the other major religions. As if Christianity didn't have it's own shameful history of persecution and violence!  Remember those so-called Christians who bombed a family planning clinic? They though they were doing the God's work, too!

I shake my head at folks who try to convince me that this country is being "taken over by Muslims". The truth is we are in far more peril of becoming a Christian theocracy. You should seriously worry about the Christian Right taking away your freedoms, not the Taliban!

Honda4myride
Honda4myride

Wearing Hijab in a stockroom, in compliance with what you were told when hired, is "taking over america"?

Do you fear sea monsters will pop out of your toilet one day to?

CHS
CHS

We wouldn't know how many (if any) Muslims stormed Normandy or fought the Japanese because there is no religious requirement to join the armed forces in the USA.  Perhaps you would be more comfortable in a country like Iran where religious beliefs are closely scrutinized.

CHS
CHS

You must have stopped listening in my business law class at some moment between the lecture on at-will employment rule and the lecture on Title VII.  Title VII, a federal law which prohibits discrimination on several grounds including religion, preempts any state laws such as the at-will employment rule.  Also, please explain how working in a stockroom is analogous to being a swimsuit model.

TiredoftheCrap
TiredoftheCrap

Outsider, As much as I agree with you, that is not what will happen.  Our moronic court system will side with CAIR and their agenda, and fine the crap out of Abercrombie & Fitch for being evil SOBs who want her to simply wear a hijab in the company colors.  Once they win, the girl will get a small amount of cash and be forgotten about, CAIR will move on to the next publicity stunt, er, case.And for the record, I do not remember anyone holding a gun to her head and saying "Work here under our rules or die."  There are plenty of other jobs for a stockroom professional.

NeoTechni
NeoTechni

They certainly arent doing her any favors by letting her wear a symbol ofoppression.

NeoTechni
NeoTechni

No /sGoogle the mecca school fires.

Guest
Guest

Amen! ...I mean, Right on!

NeoTechni
NeoTechni

I think he was kidding, since its obvious he wasnt telling the truth

mitch young
mitch young

Maybe you can visit a VA cemtary and count the number of crosses , stars of David, versus crescents.

Fact is there were virtually no Muslims in the US before 1965 , and somehow we managed.

mitch young
mitch young

Yet another example of how so-called 'Civil Rights' is tyranny over the individual. Business owners are required to hire people they'd rather not.

Guardian
Guardian

Am I the only one who read "she was told her hijab would not be in conflict with the company's "look policy" so long as she wore it in company colors."  and the the company changed it's stance after she had been hired? Get over your Muslim hatred and be an American for a change

Bill T.
Bill T.

The industrial revolution was in full swing in the north in 1860. For many reasons the south was lagging in development at the time. Since slavery wasn't a factor in the northern economy abolition didn't really affect it's growth. What was more important was the horrendous working conditions imposed in the factories, 14 hour 6 1/2 day work weeks, child labor, and on and on. Work a person to death? No problem, plenty more where they came from. No apology for the abomination of the institution of slavery but northern poor workers were not treated with kid gloves, hence the growth of the labor movement in the second half of the 19th century.

Bill T.
Bill T.

What's to reply to? His "empty" response was to a contentless comment, pretty apropo.

Guest
Guest

Gustavo: instead of the ad hominem attack against Mitch Young, why not reply to his statement?  Were there a lot of Muslims in the US before 1965?  Is he FACTUALLY inaccurate or not?  Did the US manage without Muslims?

When you attack ad hominem, you're in fact saying:  I have no REAL response to your statement.  But what you say annoys me.  But since I can't LOGICALLY respond, I'll attak you personally.

A bit puerile, Gustavo....

Guest
Guest

wow, you are one angry person, and so stupid and obviously racist... are you from the south?

ATL
ATL

So let me get this straight I can tell you to not work at my store cause your christian. You cant believe in Jesus if you want to work here. Because that is basically the equivalent. Religion constitues a persons life. If your atheist then good for you. Some muslims , not myself, wear hijabs. Noone in my sect wears it but its still respected. Are you kick a jewish man out for wearing his hat. Or a christian wearing a cross around his neck. No, but the fact that you are anti-muslim blinds you. You are a fucking moron. Saying that your anti-muslim is the biggest lie. When your ideas and beliefs clearly contradict what your saying. Next time you try to act unbias do it properly. Also, sorry you didn't go to college and the fact that your kids are fuck ups going to community colleges.

CHS
CHS

I wonder if the end of legalized slavery in the USA in 1865 had anything to do with our Industrial Revolution that started soon thereafter.  Perhaps all those free blacks led to our country's greatness.  Now, I realize those are some pretty far-fetched ideas.  But, who in the hell goes around a cemetery counting the religious symbols on headstones?  The facdt of the matter here is that the USA has maintained its status as the greatest country in the world after 1965 despite (or because of?) the great increase in the number of Muslims in this country.

TiredoftheCrap
TiredoftheCrap

Rather funny how facts make one a racist.        It is a fact that you can count the number of Muslims who died in battle based on the symbol on the headstones.  It is a fact that pre-1965 there was a very small Muslim population in the US.  It is also a fact that we survived up to that point.

I guess anyone not completely agreeing with gustavoarellano's opinions and agenda is a racist.   

Guest
Guest

Gustavo, Mexico didn't do anything in either world war. You know why? Because your country is a total and complete shithole and couldn't do anything if it wanted to. You know that. So, go on, continue to be proud of Mexico and the success it has experienced. That country has incredible potential, and STILL can't firgure out how to lose it's third world status. How stupid are you and every other Mexican?

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Another load of shit from the Weekly's token racialist!

Honda4myride
Honda4myride

Mitch Young is basically saying:  Ya to Corporations!  Nay to Bill of Rights!

Now Trending

Anaheim Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Fashion

General

Loading...