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Abercrombie & Fitch to pay $20,000 in damages for discrimination against Samantha Elauf

Samantha Elauf

Abercrombie & Fitch to pay $20,000 in damages for discrimination against Samantha Elauf

TULSA, Okla. — A federal jury has awarded $20,000 in compensatory damages to a Muslim woman who alleged that Abercrombie & Fitch discriminated against her because she wore a head scarf.

The six-member panel deliberated more than four hours Wednesday before deciding on damages against the clothing retailer.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued on behalf of Samantha Elauf, who alleged she was denied a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch store in Tulsa’s Woodland Hills Mall because she wore a hijab. The hijab is part of her religious beliefs.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell ruled last week the store violated Elauf’s civil rights when it didn’t hire her.

Store officials denied any discrimination but acknowledged having a policy that bars headwear. Abercrombie & Fitch officials couldn’t be reached after hours for comment.

Associated Press, 21 July 2011

See also News On 6 and Tulsa World.

And “Abercrombie & Fitch lawsuit winner says she sued for all Muslim girls”, News On 6, 21 July 2011


  1. I think the jury was wrong in this case. Employers should be able to force compliance with a standard dress code. Personally I see nothing wrong with her wearing of the hijab, and if it were my business I would allow it. The problem comes when you permit Samantha Elauf to wear head covering and then tell someone else they can’t wear, say, a baseball cap in gang colors. You are then guilty of discriminating against the cap wearer, and really would have no defense.

  2. I agree with the above. I myself wear hijab and have had the feeling that I’ve been denied work because of it but there is no way to prove it. Maybe they found someone who was a better match for the job? I think it’s crappy that it happens but it’s unfair to assume that that’s the reason you didn’t get the job, even with a no head covering policy. If you know that policy is in place, don’t apply for a job there. Even if you get it you can pretty resonably expect mistreatment in some form or other and life on this Earth is too short for that kind of thing. Now that manager will probably be let go to avoid bad press when that may or may not have been the reason she was denied employment in the first place.

    If a place hired you then harassed or fired you becuase of wearing hijab, THAT’S when a lawsuit should come into play, in my opinion.

  3. John Emerson, there’s a vast difference between wearing a headscarf because you’re a Muslim, and wearing a ballcap because you’re a Yankees fan.

    Funny thing, somehow a Jewish man wearing a yarmulke is seldom questioned or objected to.

  4. Before people talk they should know more. Her friend who worked there was told that by her manager that she wasn’t hired because of the hijab. Clearly, her wearing a hijab is why she wasn’t hired.

  5. Advice to all job applicants…wear a hijab to every interview you go to, then when you don’t get hired, simply claim discrimination for your payday. You cannot lose! And the best part is, the taxpayers will pick up the legal tab.

    For bonus dollars, go to the interview as a cross-dressing muslim…double payday for that!

  6. I dont want to seem rigid at all, but seriously this woman is not wearing anything that resemble hijab what so ever. She is obviously missing the point of what the hijab was meant for in the first place. And since she is wearing some kind of fashionnable scarf that doesn’t meet the basic religious standard of the hijab, is hypocrisy on her part to sue a compagnie for discrimination for wearing a “hijab”..
    In Islam’s views, this is a pure hypocrasy and the money she collected from the lawsuit is haram..
    So i would advise her at least to return the money or to donate to charity..
    With that been said at least, the lawsuit brought to light that yes indeed woman who have hijab on, are discriminaded against in the job market..

    @ed.. i’m glad that discrimination is a source of amusement to you..

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