BUS 309 Business Ethics Week 7 Discussion 1

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“Abercrombie & Fitch and Civil Rights” Please respond to the following:

  • Complete the e-Activity Abercrombie & Fitch and Civil Rights, located here. Next, determine whether Khan has a legitimate claim of discrimination or if Abercrombie has met its obligation to provide reasonable accommodation. Depending on which party you find to be at fault, propose two recommendations to mitigate future conflicts such as this.

Discussion: Abercrombie & Fitch and Civil Rights

Hani Khan has sued the retail company Abercrombie & Fitch because she claims to have been fired for refusing to remove her headscarf while at work. Khan is Muslim and wears the headscarf in observance of her religious beliefs. This marks the second time in as many years that the clothing retailer has been charged with discriminating against female Muslim employees who choose to wear headscarves.

According to the suit, Khan was employed at a Hollister Co., a subsidiary of the Abercrombie chain, located in San Mateo, CA. She states that at the time she was hired, the manager at the store told she would be permitted to wear the headscarf, also called a hijab, as long as “it was in company colors.” However, four months after starting to work for the company she was asked by both a district manager and a human resources manager to remove the hijab while working. Khan refused. She was suspended and then fired by the company.

Khan’s lawsuit alleges violations of federal and state civil rights and employment laws. Araceli Martinez-Olguin, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, stated “Abercrombie prides itself on requiring what it calls a natural classic American style. But there’s nothing American about discriminating against someone because of their religion,” further citing that “no worker should have to choose between their religion and their job.”

Abercrombie & Fitch is known for maintaining strict guidelines when it comes to employee appearance and dress. Company policy clearly states that all staff must represent ‘a classic American style.’ Employees are to follow guidelines on all aspects of their appearance, from how to wear their hair to exactly what is the appropriate length for finger nails (a quarter of an inch past the end of the finger is the maximum length that is considered acceptable.) In response to Khan’s complaint, Rocky Robbins, the company’s general counsel, stated that Abercrombie complies with the law regarding reasonable religious accommodation with respect to all employees.

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