Back in 2010, Hani Khan, an 18-year-old Muslim, claimed Abercrombie & Fitch fired her for wearing a head scarf at work. Well, today a judge agreed with her. U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said that the confusing (and arguably bland) outfitter violated anti-discrimination laws when they canned her for sporting the religious scarf at their San Mateo Hollister store.
Judge Rogers said, "Abercrombie only offers unsubstantiated opinion testimony of its own employees to support its claim of undue hardship." While company spokesman Bruce MacKenzie argued, "Abercrombie & Fitch does not discriminate based on religion and we grant religious accommodations when reasonable."
The company said Khan's head scarf clashed with their "policy governing the look of its employees," which is part of its marketing strategy. And what an unfortunate strategy it is. Earlier this year, a former manager took Abercrombie & Fitch to task for firing employees who were deemed too fat. The company also settled in a 2004 lawsuit claiming they discriminate against against black, Asian, and Latino job applicants. (They also frown upon wearing too black. Which is downright bizarre.) The retailer is notorious for an aesthetic philosophy that centers around white, young, sporty people.
Regarding a much-needed punitive beat down, Associated Press goes on to report, "A trial on the company's liability is scheduled for later this month. The judge said the jury is free to award punitive damages if it chooses."