Abercrombie and Fitch Fire Worker Because of Hijab

This is the look Abercrombie and Fitch Wants

Twenty year old Hani Khan is suing Abercrombie and Fitch for firing her over her Muslim headscarf. Khan, a stockroom worker, claims that when she refused to remove her hijab at work a manger suspended and later fired her for it.This isn’t the first time this has happened to Khan while working with the company. While working at Hollister, Khan was initially told she was allowed to wear her hijab as long as they were company colors. Four months later a district manager and human resource manager asked her to remove her hijab. When she wouldn’t she was suspended and fired.

Hani Khan at a press conference about her lawsuit against Abercrombie and Fitch.

As you may or may not know, Abercrombie and Fitch is notorious for its strict dress code. The company requires that employees dress in a natural classic American style. This includes the length of an employees fingernails and the way they wear their hair. Supporters of Abercrombie and it’s officials believe that Abercrombie makes the rules and if you don’t follow them, you deserve to fire. However, because America’s image is forever changing, the company should make the rules accommodate its changing face.

This also isn’t the first time the company has been accused of discriminated against Muslim women. In 2009, Samantha Elauf filed a federal lawsuit against the company because they rejected her because she was wearing a hijab. The company has also been accused of discriminating against other ethnicities and cultures in the past including a federal class action suit filed by black, Hispanic, and Asian employees and applicants that was settled in 2004 for 40 million dollars.

In Kahn’s case, Abercrombie believes it has done nothing wrong. It believes that it doesn’t tolerate discrimination and is in compliance with legal accommodations regarding religion. Despite this, the company has been forced to implement new policies to accommodate diversity.

What do you think? Should Khan have been fired or is Abercrombie and Fitch guilty of discrimination? Share your thoughts in a comment.

8 thoughts on “Abercrombie and Fitch Fire Worker Because of Hijab

  1. They are well within their rights to enforce their own dress code as long as it is done uniformly across the board. It is only enhanced by it being specifically mentioned in their employee handbook, given to every employee, and told before hire.

    I have a goatee. There are companies that do not allow facial hair. I don’t work for those companies and see nothing wrong with this practice. The only time I ever made an issue of it is when I saw another employee with a beard, and he was not being let go.

    Uniform application is the whole of the law.

    1. I get what you’re saying. When you enter into a certain working environment, everybody has to play by their rules. If you don’t like the rules, don’t work there. Every company’s within their right to set their own rules as long as they are within reason.

      The thing I don’t like about this situation is that she was told that she could wear her hijab when she was at Hollister and then it became an issue four months later. Then when she worked at Abercrombie, they hired her (she probably wore the hijab to the interview), working there for a while (still wearing the hijab so that makes it seem okay to wear) and then fired because she refused to take it off. If management didn’t want her to wear it they should have told her at hire or not hired her at all. Then again you could say that if she had problems with the company before she shouldn’t have tried it again a second time.

      I could understand if it was a hat or sagging pants or tattoos or unnaturally colored hair, but it’s a religious garment. Granted, it’s not a religious requirement, but many Muslim women wear it for that way.

  2. One thing you need to read is, “a district manager and human resource manager asked her to remove her hijab…” That isn’t the hiring manager or the store manager, it is his/her boss AND his/her boss’s boss.

    I am sure they have some discretion in their own store, i.e. if they were in a high Muslim populated area the hijab would be fine in that store, but in other areas it would not be fine.

    All in all it is about making sales and making money. They (the DM and HR) have reason to believe that customers/potential customers seeing her in her hijab would cause them to lose either sales or money for whatever reason. The store manager (who we could guess knows the area and populace better) did not think it would be a problem, but the bosses have the final say.

    Finally, yes you are right, you would think that after the first time there was a problem working with the company she would have seen it coming! It makes me wonder whether she was hoping to get fired so she could sue/cause a commotion.

    1. I agree. All companies want to make sales so they can make money. Because so many people stereotype Muslims as terrorists, then I understand why they would want her to remove her hijab. I could understand if it was a hat or a shirt or chain or a tattoo that was offensive or trivial. Say it was a tattoo of a swatizka or a lucky hat. But it’s a religious article. Not a required one, but a religious article nonetheless. I have a hard time believing they would make an employee take off a cross or a rosary. Maybe they would suggest they hide it under their shirt. But to me it’s making it seem as if the company values its profits over its employees. If it weren’t for the employees, how would the company profit?

      It wasn’t the best idea for her to work there again, but jobs are tough to come by. It took me almost two months before I found one. Hopefully this time she learned not to work here anymore.

  3. “I have a hard time believing they would make an employee take off a cross or a rosary.” = Dumb statement.

    I think they would have the same problem with a turban, a habit (catholic hijab), a yarmulke, and any other assortment of religious head wear, and to think this has ANYTHING to do with terrorism or racism IS JUST PLAIN STUPID. It is about image, and that is EXACTLY what A&F sells. They don’t sell clothes, they sell an image and their image doesn’t have hijabs, habits, turbans, yarmulkes, cowboy hats, mullets, untrimmed toenails, ect. Do as you are told or don’t come back tomorrow. That’s the choice you get in EVERY company you work for.

    REPEAT: This is not about discrimination, this is about the HABITUAL INSUBORDINATION AND WILLFUL REFUSAL TO FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS OR ADHERE TO GUIDELINES. Pretending there is anything else behind it is just dumb. She deserved to be fired, and if I was her manager I would have fired her too.

    1. I understand that A&F has an image to sell and uphold. I wasn’t referring about the company itself when I referred to terrorism and racism coming into play. Unfortunately, a lot of people buy into stereotypes (myself included) and when they see people with these stereotypes working in the store, they may be reluctant to go in or purchase anything. And that hurts their image.

      In addition, a lot of people don’t meet A&F’s image. Their image is “natural classic American style.” What exactly is that? What is natural classic American, when the face of America is CONSTANTLY changing? I’m not saying A&F has to become a model UN,but they should be a little more accommodating.

      I also understand that whatever company you works for makes the rules and if you don’t like it you can quit or be fired. HOWEVER, if they thought her head wear was going to be a problem, A&F shouldn’t have hired her at all. A lot of companies have potential hires go through a series of interviews where they meet the Human Resource manager or District or Regional manager. Why didn’t this happen?

      A&F were in the right to fire her, but that doesn’t make it right, especially if the issue is kind of trivial.

  4. They knew she wore it when she was hired – if it was against company rules – then they shouldn’t have hired her in the first place, I am not buying there anymore – this is discrimination and it is not welcome in America.

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