When Samantha Elauf interviewed for a job at clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch in 2008, she was unaware that her hijab did not comply with the company’s dress code.
On June 1, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the company’s failure to accommodate her headscarf, worn in observance of her Muslim faith, violated U.S. civil rights law.
The question before the court was whether it was Elauf’s responsibility to ask that an accommodation be made or it was the company’s responsibility to provide that accommodation, whether it was requested or not.
The court found that the responsibility lay with the employer: “An employer may not make an applicant’s religious practice, confirmed or otherwise, a factor in employment decisions.”
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits a prospective employer from refusing to hire an applicant in order to avoid accommodating a religious practice that it could accommodate without undue hardship.