Abercrombie and Fitch “Look Policy” Deemed Unlawful by Judge: Fair or Unreasonable?

A Sketch of a Hijab

Jane Collins, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Earlier last week Abercrombie and Fitch was chastised by a judge due to a lawsuit involving a 19 year-old former employee, who claimed she was wrongly fired from her position at Hollister (a company owned by Abercrombie and Fitch) for wearing religious garb to work. Umme-Hani Khan was initially asked by her employer to wear her hijab, a Muslim headscarf, that matched Hollister colors. Eventually, she was fired for refusing to follow those instructions. The lawsuit, filed on Khan’s behalf by The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claimed this was a pattern and that Abercrombie should be held accountable. The lawsuit now heads to trial.

As I read multiple articles discussing this news, and saw the reaction people have had to Abercrombie’s actions, I found myself wondering where I stand on the topic. I support every human’s right to believe what they want as long as it is not hurting other people, but when work and religion intertwine is it fair to rule in favor of the employee? Have we become too sensitive in our attempts to avoid offending people?

Many establishments have uniforms for their employees and if a uniform is not provided then these employees have guidelines that they must follow. For example, at Madison High School teachers are discouraged from wearing jeans unless it is a Friday. Shouldn’t Abercrombie be able to regulate what their employees wear to work?

That being said, if a Christian employee wore a cross necklace to work they probably would not be asked to remove it.

Perhaps both parties are slightly in the wrong. If Abercrombie was more specific and had actual uniforms for every employee, they would not have run into this issue. At the same time, an employer should be allowed to dictate what is worn at the workplace.