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US Supreme Court Rules Against Abercrombie in 'Look Policy' Case

Samantha Elauf and her mother Majda Elauf
Samantha Elauf and her mother Majda Elauf
Photo: Getty Images

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The US Supreme Court ruled in favor today of US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in its case against Abercrombie & Fitch, Reuters reports. The court sided with Samantha Elauf, a Muslim woman who was denied a job at an Oklahoma Abercrombie Kids store in 2008 because her headscarf violated the brand's strict "look policy" for its employees.

According to Reuters, the legal question the Supreme Court needed to decide was whether Elauf was required to ask for a religious accommodation in order for the company to be sued under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Elauf wore her headscarf to the interview but didn't tell the interviewer that she wore the headscarf for religious reasons. Abercrombie had argued that it couldn't be liable for violating a section of the Civil Rights Act since Elauf didn't tell the interviewer that she wore the headscarf for religious reasons.

In an 8 to 1 vote, the court ruled that that Elauf needed only to show that her need for an accommodation was a motivating factor in Abercrombie's decision to deny her a job, and reversed an earlier appeals ruling in Abercrombie's favor. The New York Times quoted Justice Antonin Scalia as saying, "This is really easy," when he announced the court's decision from the bench.