While the upcoming caseload for the United States Supreme Court’s fall term may not be as heavy on HR issues as in the past, there is at least one case that will examine the role of religious freedom in hiring .
The Court has announced it will hear the case of a Muslim woman who was denied employment at trendy clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch because she wore a headscarf.
The company has faced more than one discrimination suit in recent years over the policy, which has subsequently been amended, according to the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
In this case, according to the MSN News story:
Samantha Elauf, then 17, was refused a job at the retailer in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2008 because she wore a headscarf, violating the company’s “look policy,” which outlines how store staff should be groomed and dressed.
While a federal judge hearing the case found Abercrombie & Fitch was liable for discrimination — to the tune of $20,000 — that decision was later appealed, where the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act only protects employees who provide “explicit notice of the need for a religious accommodation.”
Under the act, no one can be refused employment based on their religion, unless the employer cannot accomodate the person’s religious beliefs without adversely affecting business, and court documents said she did not ask about how the company’s “look policy” could be adjusted to accommodate her religious dress at the time of the interview.
“Before her interview, Ms. Elauf knew the position required her to model the Abercrombie style, knew the style of clothing that Abercrombie sold, and also knew that Abercrombie did not sell headscarves,” Abercrombie said in its court brief.
The EEOC said its cases involving complaints of religious discrimination have more than doubled in the past 15 years, according to MSN News.
SCOTUS is expected to take up the case in January, with a decision expected in June.
Stay tuned…Twitter It!