Fired from Hollister for Wearing the Hijab?

By Farrell, Michael B | The Christian Science Monitor, February 26, 2010 | Go to article overview

Fired from Hollister for Wearing the Hijab?


Farrell, Michael B, The Christian Science Monitor


A Muslim college student claims she was fired from a Bay Area branch of the clothing chain Hollister because the hijab she wears to cover her head violated the store's 'look policy.'

A Muslim woman, apparently fired from teen clothier Hollister Co. for wearing the hijab, a religious headscarf, filed a federal complaint this week charging that she was wrongfully fired due to religious discrimination.

Hani Khan, a Bay Area college student, was let go from the clothing chain, which is owned by Abercrombie & Fitch, because her hijab violated the company's "look policy," according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which filed the complaint along with Ms. Khan.

CAIR said the termination violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires employers to accommodate an employee's religious practices unless it creates "undue hardship."

The hijab, which is worn by Muslim women around the world as a symbol of their Islamic faith, has been the center of controversy before. It has sparked protests in Europe over its place in society as Muslim populations there grow. While many US Muslim women say there is growing acceptance for the hijab, discrimination is not uncommon.

But the hijab debate that has erupted in the Bay Area involving Ms. Khan, who was a part-time stockroom employee, and Abercrombie & Fitch could shine a new light on religious discrimination at the corporate level.

"Ideally we would have liked to have resolved this and chalked it up to a mistake," says Zahra Billoo, program and outreach director for the Bay Area branch of CAIR. She says when CAIR was initially made aware of Khan's case, it sent a letter to corporate headquarters explaining Khan's religious rights.

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