U.S. District Judge Yvone Gonzales Rogers ruled today that Abercrombie & Fitch violated an employee’s rights by firing her for refusing to remove her hijab.
Umme-Hani Khan, a young woman in her 20s, claimed discrimination against Abercrombie & Fitch subsidiary Hollister, which terminated her employment after requesting that she remove her hijab to comply with the company’s “look policy," or what laymen might refer to as the sense of style cultivated within the dark caverns of Hollister stores.
Abercrombie & Fitch is known for its young and attractive female models: all-American types who look like they’ve been sauntering around the beach with the wind blowing in their hair. A&F has made it quite clear—in spite of much consternation—that their target customers, and especially their employees, fit the same description. This being the United States, one would assume that the normal response from an average person not compliant with Abercrombie’s ideal style would be to feel a bit puzzled, and then immediately move on to somewhere else where they could find a different job.
But, this being the United States, it should come as no surprise that the judge ruled that Abercrombie failed to prove that they suffered “undue hardship” sufficient enough to merit firing the employee, thus reinforcing the common liberal tenet that businesses exist not to produce products and market them, but for the sake of providing jobs. This is reinforced by earlier judgments Judge Gonzales Rogers cited in her decision, in which rulings were against Abercrombie & Fitch because they didn’t hire two hijab-wearing women. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
This decision was much-lauded by CAIR, of unindicted-co-conspirator-with-Hamas infamy, whose spokeswoman declared, “All Americans have a right to reasonable religious accommodation in the workplace, and for Muslim women this includes the right to wear a hijab to work.” Her peers at the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco-Employment Law Center echoed the sentiment: “This decision confirms that the way businesses hold themselves out to the public, and the image they wish to project, must be balanced with their employees' rights to be free from workplace discrimination -- in this case, on the basis of Ms. Khan's religion, Islam..."
The case serves as a shot across the bow for Victoria’s Secret and lingerie producers. Red-blooded men throughout the country should be warned that that their next casual flip through of the Victoria’s Secret catalogue may include peeks at octogenarians (age discrimination), 400-pound women (weight discrimination), and, of course, burqa-clad models (religious discrimination). That’s where your imagination comes in.