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Religious discrimination forbidden during application process

Religious freedoms and religious discrimination are two big issues for employers. It is vital for employers to ensure that employees and job applicants aren't discriminated against because of their religious beliefs. A recent United States Supreme Court ruling shows employers and others just how far reaching the anti-discrimination laws are to be carried.

The case that went before the highest court in the country had to do with a Muslim job applicant. The Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 that Abercrombie & Fitch might have violated anti-discrimination laws when the Muslim job applicant, who wore a hijab, was turned down for a job. The interesting point about this case is that the woman's religious beliefs weren't even discussed in her interview.

In 2008, the woman applied for a job with the clothing company. She was seeking a sales position at a children's store. She had high marks in the interview, but ultimately was passed over for the job because the hijab she wore wasn't compliant with the company's look policy.

The clothing retailer claims that it couldn't have known that an accommodation for the hijab was necessary because the then 17-year-old female didn't request one. The Supreme Court justices didn't buy that story. They noted that requesting an accommodation wasn't the issue, but that passing her over because of the hijab was.

This ruling didn't say that the company did discriminate against the applicant. Instead, it means she can pursue her case in court. The effect of the case, however, does give some guidance to Florida businesses, as well as other businesses around the country. It also shows applicants that religious discrimination during the application process isn't acceptable.

Source: Huffington Post, "Supreme Court Rules Against Abercrombie & Fitch In Discrimination Case," Dave Jamieson, June 02, 2015

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