Abercrombie lawsuit settles but damage may last

Alyssa Fagel, Highlander Editor

Abercrombie & Fitch has finally agreed to a settlement after years of dispute over employee appearance.

Hani Khan, 23, was hired to work at Hollister, a brand by Abercrombie, at the Hillsdale Shopping Center in 2009. However, she was soon fired by a district manager for wearing a hijab while working and refusing to take it off.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination at the workplace on the basis of religion. Believing this law was violated when Khan was fired, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit in 2011.

Multiple Carlmont students have strong opinions on the topic. Junior Madison Norman said, “I don’t think that [Abercrombie] can really repair the damage they caused in the first place. We live in a country where freedom of religion is valued and it’s a reason why people come here. To fire someone for a religious custom is just wrong.”

Norman added, “The company shouldn’t be so obsessed about ‘protecting their company image’ because it was those actions that ultimately damaged it.”

Now, two years later, Abercrombie has agreed to pay $48,000 to Khan, as well as $21,000 to Halla Banafa, a woman who was denied a job at Hollister for wearing a hijab. In addition, Abercrombie has agreed to no longer discriminate against applicants based on their religious attire.

Sophomore Natalie Kiyasu explained, “I think it was a fair price and that the specific case should be resolved, but not forgotten.”

Sophomore Camron Dennler elaborated, “If they had apologized and given her the job back (or at least offered it), they should be forgiven. Since they didn’t do that, I’d hold a grudge.”

This recent case wasn’t the first controversy for Abercrombie. In the past, they have been investigated for discrimination against minorities.

Abercrombie & Fitch may have been a popular clothing store in the past, but as the number of lawsuits add up, shoppers may question whether to continue shopping there.

It may take a serious drop-off in sales for Abercrombie to realize that discrimination won’t just get them sued, but will drive away business.