TULSA, Okla. — A Muslim civil rights group has filed a federal complaint on behalf of a Muslim teenager who alleges she was denied a job at Abercrombie & Fitch because she wears a hijab, or head scarf.
The complaint, filed at the Oklahoma City office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claims that a district manager for the clothing store at Woodland Hills Mall told the girl in late June that the head covering, worn by observant Muslim women, didn't fit the chain's image.
"Employers have a clear legal duty to accommodate the religious practices of their workers," said Razi Hashmi, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Oklahoma, which helped the girl file the complaint. "To deny someone employment because of apparent religious bias goes against long-standing American traditions of tolerance and inclusion."
Hashmi declined to name the girl, but said she is younger than 18.
Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers must reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee unless doing so would create an undue hardship for the employer.
A manager at the Tulsa store referred all questions to the corporate office, which didn't return calls.
The EEOC received 2,541 complaints of religious discrimination in fiscal year 2006.
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