A former stockroom worker for Abercrombie & Fitch is suing the clothing retailer in federal court, saying she was illegally fired after refusing to remove her Muslim headscarf.
Hani Khan said Monday that a store manager at the Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo, Calif., hired her while she was wearing her hijab and told her it was OK to wear it as long as it was in company colors.
Four months later, the 20-year-old says a district manager and human resources manager asked if she could remove the hijab while working, and she was suspended and then fired for refusing to do so.
"When I was asked to remove my scarf after being hired with it on, I was demoralized and felt unwanted," she said. "Growing up in this country where the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of religion, I have felt let down."
The New Albany, Ohio, company could not immediately be reached for comment. But on its corporate website it has a section on "Diversity and Inclusion" that reads:
At Abercrombie & Fitch we are committed to increasing and leveraging the diversity of our associates and management across the organization. Those differences will be supported by a culture of inclusion, so that we better understand our customers, enhance our organizational effectiveness, capitalize on the talents of our workforce and represent the communities in which we do business.
Following her termination, Khan filed a complaint with the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In September 2010, the EEOC ruled that Khan was wrongfully terminated.
But attempts to reach a settlement between the parties failed in January.