Oklahoma Muslim denied job because of Islamic scarf

The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) announced today that it has filed an EEOC complaint on behalf of a Muslim woman who was allegedly denied employment at an Abercrombie Kids store in that state because of the applicant’s religiously-mandated headscarf, or hijab.

The woman told CAIR-OK that a district manager claimed he could not hire her because her Islamic headscarf “does not fit the Abercrombie image.”

“Employers have a clear legal duty to accommodate the religious practices of their workers,” said CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi. “To deny someone employment because of apparent religious bias goes against long-standing American traditions of tolerance and inclusion.”

Hashmi noted that Abercrombie & Fitch’s corporate “Code of Business Conduct and Ethics” states: “The Company will adhere to its employment policies of non-discrimination as it relates to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation or handicap and will ensure compliance with all legal and other regulations governing employment.”

In a letter to Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Michael Jefferies, CAIR-OK asked the company to 1) offer the Muslim applicant a formal apology, 2) clarify the company’s policy on religious accommodation, and 3) institute workplace sensitivity and diversity training.

CAIR press release, 31 July 2008

See also ‘Prayer, Hijab in US Job Rights Manual’ at IslamOnline, 31 July 2008