Abercrombie & Fitch have settled with two Muslim women who have accused the chain of discrimination. A&F will pay both women a total of 71,000 dollars (more than 50,000 euro) in order to avoid a painful trial. It will also change its controversial ‘look policy’, allowing Muslim women to wear their headkerchief (or hijab as it is known).
Double headkerchief issue
In 2011 Hani Khan was fired because she refused to remove her hijab when talking to customers in San Mateo’s Hollister store in California. The local manager had given her permission to wear it, but the regional manager found it contradicting the notorious A&F ‘look policy’, leading to the lady being fired.
There had been another headkerchief incident a year earlier, when Halla Banafa got dismissed at a job interview because of her head scarve.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, striving for equal opportunities at work, brought both cases to trial. The commission and other observers had already pointed out several times that A&F took their ‘look policy’ way too far regarding religious symbols.
Abercrombie & Fitch now has reached a settlement with both women, resulting in a total compensation of some 71,000 dollars (more than 50,000 euro) with A&F also taking care of the costs for the entire court procedure. A&F managed to avoid going to trial later this month, especially as it has not been receiving good press lately.
A judge had recently decided that A&F had broken several federal and regional laws by disallowing Hani Khan to wear her religious headkerchief. Having already sidestepped several problematic situations in the past, it seems that A&F realized the current situation might turn out badly and quickly settled.
A statement from the clothing company reads as follows: “Abercrombie & Fitch does not discriminate based on religion, and we grant reasonable religious accommodations when they are requested," the company said, in a statement. With respect to hijabs, in particular, we determined three years ago to institute policy changes that would allow such headwear.”