(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 6/1/2015) — The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed what it called a “historic” a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of a Muslim woman who sued Abercrombie & Fitch after she was denied a job because she wore an Islamic head scarf (hijab).
SEE: SCOTUS Rules Muslim Woman Should Not Have Been Denied Abercrombie & Fitch Job Over Head Covering
In an 8-1 vote, the court ruled in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that sued the company on behalf of Samantha Elauf. This case was originally brought to the EEOC on behalf of Elauf by CAIR’s Oklahoma chapter in 2008 when she filed a complaint of discrimination with that office.
CAIR’s national office filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in the case.
SEE: CAIR Files U.S. Supreme Court Brief on Abercrombie & Fitch Hijab Case
Read CAIR’s Amicus Brief:
At issue was whether an employer can be liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for refusing to hire an applicant or discharging an employee based on a “religious observance and practice” only if the employer has actual knowledge that a religious accommodation was required and the employer’s actual knowledge resulted from direct, explicit notice from the applicant or employee.
In its ruling, the court stated in part:
“[R]eligious practice is one of the protected characteristics that cannot be accorded disparate treatment and must be accommodated. . .Title VII does not demand mere neutrality with regard to religious practices – that they be treated no worse than other practices. Rather, it gives them favored treatment. . .Title VII requires otherwise-neutral policies to give way to the need for an accommodation.”
Ruling: EEOC v Abercrombie & Fitch
“The Court rightfully decided that job applicants need only prove that their need for a religious accommodation was a motivating factor in an employer’s decision not to hire, which is a much more reasonable burden for an applicant to meet if denied a job for which he or she is already qualified,” said CAIR-OK Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure. “Thanks to Ms. Elauf’s courage, other job applicants who wear religious articles of clothing such as hijabs, skullcaps, or turbans will have a lower burden when they are establishing their need for a religious accommodation, and workplaces can become fairer for everyone.”
CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” to help corporate managers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims.
SEE: An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-OK Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure, 405-430-9877, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani, 405-248-5853, email@example.com; CAIR’s Senior Staff Attorney William Burgess, 202-646-6033, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, firstname.lastname@example.org