Woman Discriminated By Abercrombie & Fitch Receives $25,000 Settlement

By Urizzato (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Urizzato (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
A years long battle has come to an end: Samantha Elauf has finally won her case against clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch.

The United States Supreme Court finally ruled in favor of Samantha Elauf, after years of battling Abercrombie & Fitch in an equal employment opportunity case. The case was filed by Elauf, who is a Muslim, after she was not accepted for a sales associate job in the fashion company in 2008 because she wore her headscarf (hijab) during the interview.

Initial court rulings were already made in favor of Elauf but the company made an appeal and defended its side arguing that the decision not to hire the woman was based on its strict “look policy.” Abercrombie & Fitch added that if the applicant felt the need to be exempted from such policy, she should have initiated and asked for it.

On Tuesday, July 21, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the company’s appeal and mandated Abercrombie &Fitch to pay Samantha Elauf $25,670 as damages plus $18,983 to cover the court costs. According to Justice Antonin Scalia: “An applicant need only show that his need for an accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision. An employer may not make an applicant’s religious practice, confirmed or otherwise, a factor in employment decisions.”

Elauf won the case with the help of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC General Counsel David Lopez is pleased with the ruling and said that it only solidifies laws that protect people against religious discrimination.

Samantha Elauf who dreamed of working in a fashion company since her teenage years was very happy with the decision. He thanks the EEOC and added that “faith should not have prevented me from getting a job.” On June 22, Samantha was invited to become a part of an Iftar dinner in celebration of Ramadan where she personally met President Barack Obama.

In the end, Abercrombie & Fitch agreed to pay the damages and extra expenses.


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