Muslim woman beats Abercrombie & Fitch in legal battle over headscarf issue
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of a Muslim woman who approached the apex court claiming that she was denied a job at a clothing retailer because her headscarf was in conflict with the company's preppy dress code.
Reviving the lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch, the court said that the clothing retailer violated a federal law that requires accommodations for employees and job seekers due to their religious beliefs.
Plaintiff Samantha Elauf's case was taken up by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which argued in the court that it wasn't necessary for her to explicitly tell about her religious practices to be protected by the federal government's anti-discrimination law called Title VII.
The bench led by Justice Antonin Scalia agreed and said it was 'really easy'. Pronouncing the ruling, Scalia said, "Title VII forbids adverse employment decisions made with a forbidden motive, whether this motive derives from actual knowledge, a well-founded suspicion or merely a hunch."
Scalia added that the retailer's refusal to hire the plaintiff was motivated by the desire to avoid accommodating the religious practice, and that was enough.
Many religious and civil liberties organizations welcomed the ruling, saying the ruling made it clear that employers could not simply ignore an applicant when it comes to a religious accommodation. But employers warned that it would force them to ask some uncomfortable questions about an applicant's religion.
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