A Hijab Not Quite "The Look"
In June 2008, Heather Cooke interviewed Samantha Elauf for a position at Abercrombie & Fitch. Samantha was well dressed and wore a black hijab, a headscarf, to the interview. Cooke told Samantha that she would have to wear clothing similar to that sold by Abercrombie but never told her about heir “look” policy which prohibited employees from wearing black clothing and “caps.” At the end of the interview, Ms. Cooke asked Samantha if she had any questions. She did not. Although Samantha had scored well during the interview, Cooke consulted with her district manager who thought that a headscarf would be inconsistent with the “look” policy. After informing Samantha that she did not get the job, Ms. Cooke wondered if she should have asked if Samantha was Muslim. Did she need religious accommodation? But Samantha hadn’t requested such accommodation and Ms. Cooke couldn’t ask her about religion, could she?
- Identify the issues involved in evaluating a religious practice in light of business requirements.
- Analyze whether an employer violated the equal employment opportunity rights of an applicant.
- Evaluate and articulate the responsibility of employers and employees on religious accommodation needs in the hiring process.