Target: US District Court Judge, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers
Goal: Applaud judge for ruling that clothing retailer, Holister had wrongfully fired a Muslim employee for wearing a hijab.
Abercrombie and Fitch has a history of using dubious marketing strategies that have been criticized as racists and sexist. For example, in 2003 three females of Latino, African American, and Asian American descent accused the retailer of excluding or limiting minority employment despite high qualifications. The females that were hired accused them of putting them in low visibility, behind the scenes positions. Sales positions were said to be reserved for those with the image and physique of the highly attractive and Caucasian models that are plastered on their walls. It didn’t help their case that they were also under fire for selling t-shirts that “poked fun at Asian-American stereotypes” prior to the trial. The case resulted in a settlement but the company never admitted to any wrongdoing. Abercrombie continued to be the subject of controversy throughout the last decade for questionable ethical behaviors.
It seems like retailer still does not get the message nearly a decade after its first incident. A judge had recently ruled that Holister, an offshoot of the Abercrombie and Fitch chain retailer, had wrongfully fired a Muslim employee named Ummie-Hani Khan for wearing a hijab back in 2010. Khan said that when she accepted the company’s “look policy” during her interview in 2009, it did not prohibit headgear. Indeed, for the first 4 months of employment, she was never reprimanded for wearing her hijab to work as long as it was in company colors. When a district manager had made a visit to the San Mateo store where Khan was employed, the head scarf caught his attention. He contacted the human resources manager to issue the warning. She was told to stop wearing her hijab or be fired. Abercrombie continues to erect an untenable defense by saying that Khan’s image was a liability to the store’s sales although the company had failed to produce any evidence of this. The company continued to argue that they were simply exercising their right to commercial free speech. The judge concluded that although Abercrombie has the right to have their employees “represent the brand”, they cannot be forced to be “living advertisements”.
Sign this petition to commend Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers for making the correct decision and defending Khan’s right to freedom of religion and equal employment opportunities.
Dear Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers,
Thank you for standing up for religious freedom and enforcing equality in the workplace. It is appalling that the company has not made significant changes to their suspect employment policies and marketing practices for nearly a decade since its first lawsuit. The company should provide employees with reasonable religious accommodations.
With this decisive ruling, we can be hopeful that Abercrombie and Fitch CEO, Mike Jefferies will finally make substantial changes to their unacceptable business behaviors.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: daniel spils via Flickr