Complaint filed against Abercrombie & Fitch branch after Muslim woman fired

Foster City woman says she lost job because she wore headscarf

A 19-year-old Muslim woman filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission this week after she says she was fired from her job at a San Mateo clothing store for wearing a traditional religious headscarf.

Hollister is owned by Abercrombie & Fitch, a national clothier that has a store in Pleasanton's Stoneridge Shopping Center.

Hani Khan, of Foster City, was let go from her job as a part-time stockroom worker at a Hollister store at the Hillsdale Mall on Monday, according to Zahra Billoo of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which filed the complaint on her behalf.

According to Billoo, when Khan was hired in October, the store manager told her she could wear her headscarf, known as a hijab, as long as it conformed to the company's colors of white, gray or navy blue, to which Khan agreed. Her job included occasional work on the sales floor, Billoo said.

But Khan was taken off the store's work schedule last week.

"At that time they told her that her head scarf did not conform to their 'look policy,'" Billoo said.

Khan explained that she wore the garment for religious reasons, but on Monday, Khan was fired by a district manager and by phone by an official from the company's corporate headquarters in Ohio, according to Billoo.

"They essentially told her that if you're going to want to wear your headscarf to work, you can't work here. This was a concerted decision by a high-level company official," and not simply a training issue, Billoo asserted.

An Abercrombie & Fitch representative did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday.

In 2008, CAIR filed a similar complaint against Abercrombie & Fitch on behalf of a Muslim woman in Oklahoma whom the company allegedly refused to hire because of her hijab.

The EEOC later filed a lawsuit against the company on behalf of the woman. The suit is still pending in federal court in Oklahoma.

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