SCOTUS roofWritten by Don Byrd

The U.S. Supreme Court announced this morning it will hear a workplace religious discrimination case in which Abercrombie & Fitch rejected a job applicant because her hijab did not conform to their “look policy.” The company has faced more than one discrimination suit in recent years over the policy, which has subsequently been amended.

The plaintiff in the case the Court will hear, Samantha Elauf, wore her headscarf as required by her religious beliefs to the job interview.  The EEOC brought suit on her behalf and a jury awarded her $20,000.  The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, overturned that judgment on the grounds that the company was not given proper notice of her need for a religious accommodation. Apparently, Elauf did not expressly request a religious accommodation and the interviewer did not inquire into its religious significance during the interview.

The government appealed that ruling, arguing that the company was of course on notice of her need to wear the hijab, and that the law does not place the burden solely on the job applicant to bring up the issue. The Supreme Court will address the question next year. Stay tuned.