Abercrombie stockroom worker fired for wearing a hijab wins in court

In 2011 we reported on Hani Khan, who was suing Abercrombie & Fitch after she was fired from a Hollister store (a subsidiary of Abercrombie). Khan worked in the stockroom, but she was fired because her hijab didn’t match the company’s “look policy.” Khan’s case was one of three the EEOC brought against Abercrombie. The company’s policy sounds not unlike that of the school that sent Tianna Parker home for having dreadlocks.

Now a federal judge has ruled that Abercrombie & Fitch owes Khan damages. From NBC:

Abercrombie argued to the court that store associates should be classified as “living advertisements,” and that their appearance is protected by commercial speech.

Judge Rogers found that argument wanting, noting that employees may wear other brands.

The judge also noted that Khan had interviewed wearing a headscarf and that her job was to fold clothes in the stockroom, where she wasn’t visible to customers. In the four months that she worked at Hollister before the district manager spotted her, she was on the floor just one to four times a shift.

Finally, the judge said, no customers had complained, and Abercrombie couldn’t show that Khan’s hijab had hurt sales.

Also, not letting her wear the hijab is, ya know, super Islamophobic.

The court has yet to decide the amount of damages Khan will receive. I’m glad she won – it’s about time Abercrombie’s super bigoted look policy had its day in court.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

Read more about Jos

Join the Conversation