Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Employment Law
  • Date Filed: October 2, 2014
  • Case #: 14-86
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: 731 F.3d 1106 (10th Cir. 2013)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether it is a violation of Title VII for refusing to hire an applicant or for terminating an employee based on a religious practice that require accommodations.

Petitioner applied to work at a Respondent's retail store, and was barred from employment because her use of a headscarf did not comply with the company dress code. Petitioner did not explicitly inform the company that the headscarf was worn for a religious reason, and did not request an accommodation from the dress code during her interview. She had previously, however, discussed the headscarf with an assistant manager, and wore the headscarf to her interview. The assistant manager who interviewed Petitioner testified that per the district manager's advice, the applicant's interview score was lowered because of the headscarf to ensure that the Petitioner would not be recommended for hire. Petitioner brought suit, claiming Respondent's employment discrimination was in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) to 2000e-17, for failure to provide reasonable religious accommodation for a prospective employee.

The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Petitioner, and denied summary judgment in favor of the Respondent. Respondent appealed to the United States Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded. The Court held that because Petitioner had not expressly informed the Respondent that the headscarf was for a religious reason, there was no genuine issue of material fact, and therefore the Respondent was entitled to summary judgment.

Petitioner sought certiorari. The question presented to the Court is whether an employer violated Title VII for refusing to hire an applicant or terminating an employee based on a religious practice that require accommodations.

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