A matter of aesthetics or going against company policy?
dailymail.co.uk: A Muslim woman is taking Abercrombie & Fitch to court after she was allegedly fired from her job for wearing a religious headscarf.
The woman, who has not been named, claims bosses told her the hijab didn’t fit with the firm’s ‘look policy’ – even though she worked in the stockroom.
She was employed for several months at a California branch of Hollister Co, a subsidiary of the Abercrombie clothing chain.
For anyone who has ever set foot in an Abercrombie Fitch store the overwhelming aesthetic of their stores is that of beautcious young boys flanking the aisles and the sundry of posters beseeching us with their purported idealized beauty and youth- something management is careful to cultivate in the hope that you too buy into it. Something that may if one ponders over it a moment could conceivably clash with that of a woman wearing a religious headscarf. Never mind if she is kept deep in the stock room. Or does it?
The company has become well-known for its controversial ‘look policy’, which provides strict guidelines governing how employees dress.
It stipulates that staff must represent ‘a natural classic American style’ and instructs them on everything from how to wear their hair (clean and natural) to how long they should wear their nails (a quarter of an inch past the end of the finger).
Is there such a law that mandates how long ones nails are at work or whether they are allowed to wear fingernail polish or not? Are such aesthetic demands legally enforceable? Furthermore why would someone who is aware of such aesthetics choose to work at such a venue, but then again why shouldn’t they? Furthermore did it just occur to management that the woman in question just started wearing hibabs this morning? Surely they could have come up with some sham reason (as is one is inclined to wonder is the norm) not to have taken her on in the first place?
Her lawyers claim: ‘She was told that her headscarf, though worn based on a religious mandate, was not in compliance with the company’s “look policy”.’
Her contract was allegedly terminated in February 2010 after she refused to remove the hijab.
Look policy? Does that suggest a corporates look policy has precedence over ones own private religious customs. What if she had taken out a rug and started praying to Allah at lunchtime is that something that would have offended the look policy too? Or is it case of discrimination because she happens to be Muslim? Or to say it in a more diplomatic way management weren’t necessarily enthused when the woman in question made it a practice of exhibiting her private beliefs on their time? Would they have thought that too if instead she was a he dressed in conservative Hasidic regalia, or would that have been overlooked, cause it’s really Muslims we are never quite sure what to do with?
The suit will be filed in San Francisco on Monday, in conjunction with another case that has already been brought against Abercrombie & Fitch by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Representatives for the chain were not immediately available for comment.
Isn’t it time you applied for a job at Abercrombie and Fitch too?