Hollister employee fired for wearing hijab

Hani Kahn is suing Abercrombie & Fitch, alleging that she was fired from her job in a Hollister stockroom for wearing her Hijab, or head scarf.

Kahn maintains that she worked "behind the scenes" in a Hollister stockroom for four months, wearing her head scarf while every day while she did so. The store manager had no problem with it when she was hired for the position, but after four months, a district manager and human resources took umbrage and and fired Kahn for refusing to remove the garment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch, the parent company that owns Hollister. 

"No worker should have to choose between their religion and a job," said attorney Araceli Martinez-Olgui.

Kahn said she's received death threats since going public with her story, which I would guess stems more from the controversial religious aspect of the case and less from homicidal fans of overpriced 100% cotton button-downs.

"We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all individuals regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. We comply with the law regarding reasonable religious accommodation," Abercrombie said in a statement.

There are two things that bother me about that statement. One is the first sentence: A&F settled a $40 million discrimination lawsuit brought against the company by minority employees and job applicants in 2004, so their commitment is already suspect.

Secondly, what's so unreasonable about an employee who doesn't work on the floor of the company wearing a head scarf? I get that Hollister wants to maintain their lofty standards of padded bikinis for eight-year-olds, and a pure, unadulterated, Caucasian workforce, but what's the harm of allowing an employee to wear a religious garment working in a position that already has her hidden from the public eye? 

Hollister does a lot of their advertising based on certain classic aspects of America: beaches, barbecues, and blondes. But, with two lawsuits of the same basic nature under their hand-tooled, pre-distressed leather belts, it's clear that they're only comfortable with the sexy, shallow America, not the one we all have an equal stake in, regardless of color or creed.

Commentarium (9 Comments)

Jun 28 11 - 2:01pm

Good thing the District Mismanager and Inhuman Resources don't live in my 'hood. Hos be rockin' the hijab daily.

Seriously: maybe that's why A&F is so expensive: costs from all these lawsuits have to be passed on somehow.

Jun 28 11 - 2:39pm

It's just amazing how much corporate America keeps getting more absurd than their own caricatures. I assume that if Ms. Kahn was wearing the scarf to protect her 'do, it would have been fine with the Ayrian patrol. It's only when the scarf becomes a "Hijab" that it is objectionable.

Jun 28 11 - 2:49pm

It's the warehouse thing that really gets to me: I suppose it could be a horrible, though believable stretch of the imagination that she was fired for wearing it on the sales floor and scaring all the aryan 17-year-olds, but she was in the back room...how much further could they have gone to hide her?

Jun 28 11 - 2:57pm


Jun 28 11 - 8:04pm

I am shocked and appalled that has not appeared before now. Well done.

Jun 28 11 - 4:52pm

Wow, how low class can that company get? I didn't know Hollister was part of the A&F empire, but it figures. More crap for the shallow label whore mentality.

Sep 11 11 - 10:23pm

Technically, Aryans are middle-eastern and Indian people. I guess you are all Nazis for using the term like they did/do.

Nov 18 11 - 11:46pm
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