A federal appeals court on June 20 dismissed Abercrombie & Fitch’s appeal of an EEOC religious discrimination lawsuit that the Supreme Court addressed in June.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling represents the final resolution of EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch, which the EEOC filed in 2008 on behalf of Samantha Elauf when the retailer refused to hire her because of her religious practice of wearing a traditional Muslim headscarf, or hijab.
The Supreme Court remanded the case to the 10th Circuit after ruling that a job applicant does not have to specifically request a religious accommodation before an employer can be held liable for having a dress code that prohibits religious attire or grooming practices. Abercrombie’s appeal was dismissed after it agreed to settle the case, paying $25,670 in damages to Elauf and $18,983 in court costs.
“We were extremely pleased with the Supreme Court ruling in our favor, which has reinforced our longstanding efforts to enforce Title VII’s prohibition against religious discrimination,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. “We are now even more pleased to have final resolution of this case and to have Ms. Elauf receive the monetary damages awarded to her by a jury in 2011.”
The Supreme Court’s June 1 decision held that an employer may not refuse to hire an applicant if the employer was motivated by avoiding the need to accommodate a religious practice. The court said that violates the prohibition on religious discrimination contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.