Supreme Court to hear case of Muslim woman denied employment

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 02, 2014 9:49 AM

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday said it would consider whether a Muslim woman denied a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch Co clothing store because she wears a head scarf was required to specifically request a religious accommodation.

The nine justices agreed to hear an appeal filed in the closely watched case by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that sued the company on behalf of Samantha Elauf. She was denied a sales job at an Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2008.

Elauf, who was 17 at the time, was wearing a head scarf – or hijab – at the job interview but did not specifically say that, as a Muslim, she wanted the company to give her a religious accommodation. The company denied Elauf the job on the grounds that wearing the scarf violated its "look policy" for members of the sales staff.

A federal district judge ruled in favor of Elauf and the government, but in an October 2013 ruling the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that Elauf was required to ask for an accommodation.

A ruling is expected by the end of June. The case is EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 14-86.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)