Abercrombie Pays $25K in Headscarf Case Settlement

President Barack Obama and Samantha Elauf

Abercrombie Pays $25K in Headscarf Case Settlement

U.S. President Barack Obama greets Samantha Elauf, the Muslim woman who was denied a job over head scarf at Abercrombie & Fitch, during an Iftar dinner June 22 celebrating Ramadan in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. Abercrombie agreed to settle Elauf’s lawsuit for $25,000. Pool Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI | License Photo

DENVER, July 21 (UPI) — Abercrombie & Fitch on Tuesday agreed to pay $25,000 to settle a lawsuit brought against the company for refusing to hire a woman because she wore a hijab.

The settlement comes less than two months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Abercrombie & Fitch violated the civil rights of the job applicant.

Samantha Elauf was denied a sales associate position because her hijab, a religious headscarf, violated the company’s “look policy” in 2008. She filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which then filed suit against Abercrombie & Fitch.

Abercrombie & Fitch settled the EEOC lawsuit Monday after the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the company’s appeal. In addition to paying $25,670 in damages to Elauf, Abercrombie must pay $18,983 in court costs.

“We were extremely pleased with the Supreme Court ruling in our favor, which has reinforced our longstanding efforts to enforce Title VII’s prohibition against religious discrimination,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. “We are now even more pleased to have final resolution of this case and to have Ms. Elauf receive the monetary damages awarded to her by a jury in 2011.”

Abercrombie & Fitch has since changed its “look policy” to allow headgear, including hijabs. The company has previously paid settlements in discrimination suits, including a $50 million payment in 2005 to Hispanic, African-American and Asian job applicants in a lawsuit alleging a lack of diversity.

“I was a teenager who loved fashion and was eager to work for Abercrombie & Fitch,” Elauf said in a statement. “Observance of my faith should not have prevented me from getting a job. I am glad that I stood up for my rights, and happy that EEOC was there for me and took my complaint to the courts.”

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