Abercrombie & Fitch Will Go to Trial over Headscarf Discrimination Suit
English: The image of Abercrombie & Fitch today. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When Abercrombie & Fitch declined to hire a woman who wore a headscarf to her interview, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filed an employment discrimination lawsuit. Recently, a federal judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit.
According to the EEOC lawsuit, Muslim Halla Banafa was denied a stockroom job at a California Abercrombie Kids store because her headscarf did not fit the look of the store. The store then hired less qualified applicants for its stockroom.
According to a representative for Abercrombie & Fitch, the reason Banafa was not hired was actually because she listed her availability as Friday through Sunday. The federal court disagreed in its ruling, which will allow the case to proceed to trial. In deciding to not dismiss the case, Judge Davila found that the EEOC had offered ample evidence that the decision not to hire Banafa could have been based on her religion.
The most convincing piece of evidence for Judge Davila was the fact that, after turning down Banafa, Abercrombie hired three less qualified applicants. According to Judge Davila, “A reasonable jury considering the evidence suggesting that availability was not typically a hiring consideration and showing that three candidates with lower scores were hired over Ms. Banafa could conclude that Abercrombie’s availability justification is a thinly veiled excuse cloaking the true motivation behind its decision not to hire Ms. Banafa.”