San Mateo Woman: Store Fired Me for Wearing Headscarf

Former employee suing Abercrombie & Fitch after being let go from Hillsdale Mall location.

A San Mateo woman is suing Abercrombie & Fitch after she was allegedly fired from her job at the company’s outlet for not removing her headscarf.

The woman, who has not been identified, is a Muslim, and “she was told that her headscarf, though worn based on a religious mandate, was not in compliance with the company's ‘look policy,’” said those representing her in the lawsuit. She worked at , a subsidiary of Abercrombie & Fitch, in 2009 and 2010.

Some Muslim traditions require that women wear the headscarf, or hijab, when out in public.

Her case has been taken up by the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco - Employment Law Center, a group that works to defend the rights of the socially disadvantaged. Christopher Herrera, a spokesman for the group, said the case “came to us through the Council on American-Islamic Relations. They know that we work with employment issues and with discrimination issues regarding employment.”

The Legal Aid Society and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are filing the suit on Monday in San Francisco, after which a news conference will be held. The conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the legal group’s offices at 180 Montgomery Street, Suite 600, San Francisco.

CAIR describes itself as “America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.”

According to a press release issued by both groups, “The plaintiff worked for Hollister Co., a brand of Abercrombie & Fitch, for several months in 2009-10 while wearing a hijab. In February 2010, she was terminated from her position as a stockroom employee after refusing to remove her scarf."

Herrera said he could not comment further on the case until the lawsuit is filed Monday.

The suit is being filed in conjunction with a lawsuit already filed against Abercrombie & Fitch by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the group said.

Abercrombie & Fitch representatives were not immediately available for comment.

BIG HENRY June 25, 2011 at 05:35 AM
BIG HENRY June 25, 2011 at 05:45 AM
Big Henry's comments were summarily deleted and did not appear. Are you censoring his 1st Amendment rights? What are you afraid of?
Kristine Wong June 25, 2011 at 04:15 PM
Nothing was deleted, Big Henry; the system for some reason did not record your comment. Please type in your comment here.


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