San Mateo Muslim Woman Sues Abercrombie & Fitch Over Hijab Firing

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — A former stockroom worker for Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is suing the clothing retailer in federal court, saying the parent company of Hollister Co. fired her after she refused to remove her Muslim headscarf.

Hani Khan said Monday that a Hollister store manager at the Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo, hired her while she was wearing her hijab and told her it was OK to wear it as long as it was in company colors.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

Four months later, the 20-year-old says a district manager and human resources manager asked if she could remove the hijab while working, and she was suspended and then fired for refusing to do so.

The New Albany, Ohio, company said in a statement: “We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all individuals regardless of religion, race or ethnicity, as evidenced by the fact that diversity in our stores far exceeds the diversity in the population of the United States.  We comply with the law regarding reasonable religious accommodation, and we will continue to do so.  We are confident that when this matter is tried, a jury will find that we have fully complied with the law.”

The lawsuit comes after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled Khan was fired illegally.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

  • Ronald

    She should get a BILLION dolhairs

  • B

    I wouldn’t give her a penny. I also wouldn’t trust her motives, since most muslims don’t want women to work.

    • caaa

      u know nothing i am an american i was born here i have been to muslim coutries before and I saw alot of women working and their husband let them work if they want to. she has the right to sue that company. If u dont know any info about muslims then shut ur mouth and dont speak at all

  • Reviewer


  • cam rig

    yeah i hope that she wins! what motives does she have besides getting treated unfairly…they did say anything about anyone else having a big problem with it

  • Ross Patton

    Leave your personal nonsense out of it people: you aren’t allowed to discriminate based on religion in this country period. Whether it’s a hijab (which really most of the time is just a scarf around the head: no big deal) or a yarmulke or a sikh turban, it shouldn’t be a basis for firing anyone. Would she had gotten fired for wearing a big cross around her neck? Of course not. They hired her knowing full well she wore it, they had no right to go back on that.

    • Bluestorm89

      She is an American citizen.
      She has all the same rights as any CHRISTIAN citizen.

      Learn to read, people.

  • Josh

    First, what is the official company policy on head wear of any type?
    Second, was she properly informed of this policy?

    This all seems similar to what Disney goes though every year for the same reason. In Disney’s case the workers are told up front on their very strict grooming policy. Yet many choose to ignore it thinking they can play the “it’s my religion / freedom game”.

    Seems in this case there is much more than we are being told by either side.

  • Peter P

    The store isn’t discriminating against her for her religious beliefs. It’s due to the fact that she isn’t adhering to their dress code. Any business in America has a right to mandate a dress policy.

    This is NO different to stores prohibiting their employees from wearing clothing or jewelry that display religious symbols on them. This is NOT illegal!

    What if someone who wears the full head-to-toe abaya wants to work in a store? Do you think stores must let her wear such an outfit that only shows her eyes?!?!?!

    • Bengie

      @Johnah, this is about weather or not she was fired illegally. It is not about weather we have a Christian country. We indeed do have a Christian country our Constitution is not based on Christianity, remember there is a seperation between Church and State. If you look at the law you will see that this lady was wrongfully terminated end of story. Read again she was OK’d to wear the scarf as long as it was in company colors so that must of came out of the dress code right? Please dont be blinded at the fact that she is Muslim. Look at the law

      • Peter P

        What if a Islamic/Muslim woman who wore a burqa wanted to work in a retail store? Do you think she would be allowed to wear the burqa which covers her from head to toe?

        Freedom of Religion is one thing. But, freedom to wear what you want is another. Just because it’s part of your religion doesn’t mean it’s protected by discrimination laws. At least, that’s how I interpret it. But to be PC, we’ve bend the law a bit.

    • Bengie

      Its a hijab, a headscarf not a nekab or an abaya. It is discriminating against her beliefs because wearing the headscarf/hijab is a part of her belief. The article clearly states that the company said that it was ok to wear it as long as it was in company colors. When the H.R manager and District manager seen her and suspended her and later fired her for refusing to remove it. So this is clearly discrimination against her religious beliefs. Also, there is no talk of company dress codes in the article. She is not in the wrong but in your eyes she is because she is a Muslim. What the company did is illegal, even the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that she was fired illegally.

      • James

        Dan: Exactly! And what is the name of this ‘religion’ you describe? Sounds like a great one.

      • Peter P

        Well, we’ll see what the courts say. Because, in my opinion, it’s not illegal. Because, there are other instances in America where an employer can prohibit an employee from wearing things that clearly display their religion.

        Job discrimination due to religion translates to firing or not hiring someone solely because they are practicing X religion. A&F fired her because she refused to abide by their dress code. They may have stated to her that it was allowed. But, an employer can change the rules and give her the heads up. She was supposedly told multiple times.

  • Bengie

    Hey Dan did you read the article? It said that it was a hijab OK. If you dont know what a hijab is? Its the headscarf it does not cover the womans face, just covers her hair. I think are mistaking it with the nekab buddy. I see that you are very racist. My friend you dont even know what you are talking about. You just see a Muslim so in your eyes she is wrong for being Muslim right? The funny thing is that you state the if someone “expects to get anywhere in this country or anywhere else you must assimilate”. You sound educated yet you dont know the difference between a hijab and a nekab.

    • Johnah

      @Bengie we don’t need to educate ourselves on Muslim customs and traditions. This is a Christian nation.

  • Velvet5260

    I hope she is an American Citizen? No one person regardless should be able to sue anyone or any Company unless they are a citizen of the United States.

  • tn

    In the Middle East, you break a law and the public throws stones at you. In America, you hire a lawyer and they throw money at you.

  • allen smithee

    If she wants to wear a hijab at work, move back to your muslin country, than you could wear your hijab to your hearts content.

  • Ken Riley

    In the SF A&F store, there is an employee wearing a religious yarmakule. (A skull cap / beanie worn by jewish men).
    Why is he allowed to wear it? It’s not in A&F colors.
    Shouldn’t the jew guy also obey “American” standards or does he get a free pass because he’s a jew ?

  • TMI

    How France Has Fallen

    Muslim immigration has overwhelmed permissive French institutions

    France is probably the worst affected of all western nations by immigration, since it is on the brink of losing its European identity to the insistent Muslims increasing in numbers within French borders. As they grow in population, they come to believe they can impose the will of Islam on the French people, who seem rather unconcerned with the transformation.

    With a population of five million Muslims, France is holding a tiger by the ears. The threat of violence from radical Islamic elements cannot be far from politicians’ minds. Wherever there are large numbers of Arabs, there is crime and violence, particularly against women.

    France should be seen as a cautionary tale of immigration run amok, and how quickly things get out of control. Muslim immigration to France is a post-war phenomenon for the most part: just of few decades of high immigration of a group with high fertility has put France in the unenviable position of being the European nation thought most likely to be the first to introduce sharia (Islamic) law.

  • adam


  • Ken Riley


    What do you think American Colonialism has done to the world ?

    Look at what the Europeans have done to North America.

    • TMI

      Well we don’t look down on women as second class citizens, do we…..

  • Ken Riley

    Yes, America looks down on women.
    1. When did women get the right to vote?
    2. How many women presidents?
    3. Why does a woman take a man’s last name?
    4. In middle america, a woman’s job is house wife, cook, clean, provide sex, take care of kids.
    5. Listen to Sarah Palin rant about women not being treated fairly.
    tmi, there are many ways a woman gets treated like a second class citizen in america.

    Ask a woman her opinion.

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