Umme-Hani Khan wasn’t trying to make a fashion statement nor was the sales associate for Hollister, a division of Abercrombie & Fitch trying to create a scene at the retail store in San Mateo County where she stocked shelves.
In fact, according to a Sept. 11, NBC Today story, Khan thought “she was doing everything right.”
Khan “wore flip-flops and long-sleeved shirts and jeans” bought at the very store where she worked. But the hijabs, or headscarves, she wore were against the company’s “look policy” even though Khan made sure they matched company colors.
U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers concluded that Abercrombie had “acted with malice, reckless indifference” after a complaint was filed in court by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on behalf of Khan, citing Abercrombie & Fitch refused to make changes to their policy to allow headscarves.
The judge also ruled that Abercrombie's argument that their employees were “living advertisements” of the brand and “their appearance is protected by commercial speech” didn’t hold water, “noting that employees may wear other brands.”
The case is headed to trial to determine the damages that Khan will be awarded.
Looks like, Abercrombie’s fashion policing of their own employees’ styles has backfired and will cost them – well, let’s just say – Khan will be able to have quite the wardrobe!
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