Abercrombie & Fitch is being sued again for discrimination in the workplace. No surprise here, I am pretty sure that settling/losing discrimination lawsuits is almost like a second business for Abercrombie, or possibly for their fleet of lawyers on retainer. A 2004 class action suit forced them to pay big bucks to every African-American, Asian, Latino and woman who applied but was not hired at their stores. Why? Because they had this Neanderthal hiring practice of only recruiting and hiring white frat boys and white sorority girls because they had a certain “look.” It took a court to tell them what most of the world knows–gee, that “looks” like discrimination. What are you guys trying to do start a new retail race of surfer dudes and duds? A court order said they must recruit from all of us imperfect people too. But, I hear the imperfect but smart people don’t want to work in a dark cologne-fogged-surfer infested atmosphere of discrimination.
In 2009 a girl with a prosthetic arm sued them and won because they hired her, but decided to hide her in the back storeroom and then changed their mind on allowing her to wear a sweater. The people who run these stores must be from some planet of the Stepford-people. It’s actually kind-of creepy, hiring only white, perfect, beachy, flip-flopped wearing Stepford employees.
Another 2009 lawsuit they lost in Minnesota was to a teen who was trying to help her autistic sister in a dressing room but they kicked her out. The mother even called to complain and explain but Abercrombie’s sensitivity training must have been a little lax. They actually said they didn’t really think she had autism-the girl got $115,000.
This latest lawsuit has to be a slam-dunk for 20-year-old college student, Hani Khan, hired by Hollister Co. (Abercrombie owns it) in San Mateo in 2009. In her interview the hiring manager asked her if she could wear a headscarf (she wore a hijab) in the company colors. She said yes, and she honored that commitment. She too was put in the stockroom but she did occasionally have to go out in “public” to the sales floor in the course of her duties. A district manager came into the store one day and caught sight of Khan. She was asked to remove the hijab she was wearing, even though she was wearing one when she was hired, she refused. Khan needed the job to help with her college costs–I don’t think she will have to worry, I’m sure Abercrombie will be paying her tuition and a whole lot more.
(Because I have written about Abercrombie frequently, a friend with a sense of humor sent me this book; http://amzn.to/1olaP9T It is “You are What You Wear, What your clothes reveal about you” I must admit it was very interesting but I’m not sure I agree with the premise. I am an Amazon affiliate so I do get a tiny commission if you buy this through my link. I read mine and then re-gifted it to a lucky friend who I always thought dressed rather weird. I wonder if after reading the book he came to the same conclusion? I never asked.)
- Woman sues Abercrombie & Fitch over hijab firing (cbsnews.com)