A Muslim woman claims that she was fired from her job at the Hollister store in San Mateo for refusing to take off her Islamic head scarf.
The woman, who asked to be identified only with her first name, Hani, said her manager fired her Monday for not following the company's dress code, called the "look policy." She says her Hajib, or Islamic head scarf, was not permitted by the dress code.
"I was really surprised, especially in the Bay Area, where everyone is so receptive and kind, that someone would discriminate against a religious group," she said.
The manager at the Hollister store, located in the Hillsdale Mall, refused to discuss the incident and referred all questions to Hollister's corporate parent, Abercrombie & Fitch. Messages left with two of the company’s media representatives were not returned.
On its website, the company touts its workplace diversity, claiming diversity and inclusion are key to the organization’s success. The site also touts the company's diversity council, which helps implement the company’s cultural vision.
But that belies Hani's experience.
"The law requires employers provide a reasonable accommodations for religious practice, so long as it doesn't cause an undo hardship," said Zahra Billoo of the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR.
CAIR has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Abercrombie & Fitch.
"Hijab means honesty," Hani said. "It means a woman is looked at for her brains and intelligence, and what she has to say, and not the body she has. I'm going to keep wearing it. It's part of my identity."