During her job interview with Abercrombie, Ms. Elauf wore a hijab, a piece of clothing that Ms. Elauf believes is religiously mandated. At the time, she was informed that Abercrombie would not be able to hire her, not on religious grounds, but because she refused to remove her head scarf.
Abercrombie has, what they call, a "Look Policy." In other words, because they are a fashion store, they want people to dress in their fashion and their style. Ms. Elauf stated that she would not take off her hijab even if she was hired and was at the job site. She was then informed that Abercrombie had decided not to hire her. So Ms. Elauf sued.
Despite not working at Abercrombie Kids and despite being hired soon after by another store, a jury saw fit to award Ms. Elauf with the sizable sum of $20,000. Ms. Elauf was suing for a much larger amount, but the jury in the case decided not to hit Abercrombie with punitive damages. Still Ms. Elauf, 20, is "very excited" with the outcome.
She plans to take the money and invest it in a fashion store of her own.
|Ms. Elauf, flanked by Attorney Barbara Seely|
"Samantha Elauf deserves every penny," she said. "She is a courageous young woman who stuck with this case for three years in order to stand up for her rights and the rights of every Muslim woman to work wearing a headscarf."
The whole of Ms. Elauf's and Ms. Seely's case hinges on every American's right to freedom of religion. Whether it covers people who voluntarily try to pursue certain jobs that require a dress code is now coming into our court systems.