Policies Against Head Coverings are Now Illegal at Clothing Stores

Abercrombies, which I guess is some sort of clothing store (I am an engineer, what the hell do I care, I have a basket full of interchangeable white socks so I don’t have to even think about what to wear), had a policy against its employees wearing head coverings because that is not the hip look they wanted to promote.  Of course they were sued by a young Muslim woman so now we will get our fashion advice from people wearing hijabs because the Supreme Court ruled it would just be the worst thing evers if people in the fashion business were required to wear the fashion they sell as a form of advertisement.

Female Customer: What would go well with this red blouse?

Abercrombie Consultant: A black hijab.

Female Customer: What about these 6 inch heels?

Abercrombie Consultant: A black hijab.

Female Customer: I need something to wear to a pool party?

Abercrombie consultant: A black hijab goes well with anything.

Female Customer: Oh, and I need some driving gloves.

Abercrombie Consultant:  No you don’t.

The interesting thing about this is that I don’t think there is any way for the Supreme Court to require an allowance for a hijab and not a full body covering like a burqa (and yes it is a sign of how our society is devolving back to a primitive state that we even know what these words mean).  Our clothing stores could quite literally be forced to hire people who have no cultural concept of what “fashion” even is.

Meanwhile, at the Christian bakery down the road…

Our law has become such a hash that people are forced to participate in a religious service that is against their beliefs such as a gay marriage but they can’t be inconvenienced to the extent of having to leave a scarf at home.

This is why I went into engineering.  The laws of nature are incontrovertible and they always make sense.  The laws of man are whatever some asshole takes a notion they should be on a given day and they absolutely never make sense because then they would be predictable and that would defeat the purpose of keeping the populace tremulous and under control.

BTW, I support gay unions.  If you want to call them marriages or civil unions etc… I don’t see as it matters much.  But I also don’t think we should make the march down the aisle into a Bataan Death March for people who don’t want to participate by forcing them to supply cakes, entertainment etc…  But the social justice crowd is never happy until the vanquished are also forced to pay tribute.

Anyway, here is Abercrombies’ Supreme Court approved fall fashion line.


Oddly enough, it is also their Summer, Winter and Spring lineup as well.  I think this is their revenge for being forced to wear those black robes all the time.  I think Ginsberg even put in her opinion, “let’s see how you bitches like it now!”  But that could be a misquote like the press did with Walker and the sonograms.  See, I can beez journalist too!

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  • Zev Sero

    You’re full of sh*t. First of all, today’s decision doesn’t change the law at all. Employers have for decades been required to make reasonable accommodations for their employees’ religious needs. Not idle preferences; leaving the scarf at home is not just an “inconvenience”, it’s forbidden by her conscience.

    A&F knew this, and they knew that if she asked for an accommodation they’d have to either make it or show why they couldn’t, so they decided not to hire her before she even had a chance to ask. Then they went into court arguing with a straight face that since they didn’t know whether she would have asked, they couldn’t have been discriminating against her religious practise. 8 justices out of 9 slapped that theory down; it doesn’t matter what they knew; all that matters is their motive. They don’t dispute that the reason they didn’t hire her was because she might ask to cover her hair; therefore they were violating the law whether or not she would have actually asked.

    Now A&F is free to argue that allowing a saleswoman to cover her hair is not a reasonable accommodation; that would create an undue burden on them. They have said they intend to argue this when the case gets to court, and they may very well prevail. All today’s decision says is that they can’t be smart-asses and get around the law by deciding not to hire her before she had a chance to ask about it.

    • Ben Franklin

      I appreciate the response (and please feel free to write “shit” in all of its glory). Also, thank you for taking the time to write out your explanation. I think it is well written and pretty accurate.

      I will even go so far as to say you may be right and I might be guilty of stealing a base in describing the decision, although some law professors seem to disagree.

      But I think the effect of the ruling is more than you allow. The justices cover the issues you describe but they also changed the definition of “intentional discrimination” to the extent that adhering to a neutral policy on headwear provides no safe harbor. As Thomas says, “an employer who is aware that strictly applying a neutral policy will have an adverse effect on a religious group, and applies the policy anyway, is not engaged in intentional discrimination, at least as that term has been traditionally understood.” Now the court has decided that having a neutral hiring policy is not enough. That seems pretty significant. They didn’t have to do that to get the ruling they desired.

      So while we might disagree on the significance of this ruling, I think we both know how it is going to end.

      The justices erred when they ruled A&F was motivated by religious discrimination when it is clear all they were really concerned with was making sure they hired people who complied with a very neutral dress code. In fact the quote their executive gave when asked for guidance says exactly that. The effect may have been to exclude certain groups, and they knew Muslims would be in that group, but that sure as hell was not the intent and it was not the reason they implemented the policy. Nor was religious animus their reason for rejecting this applicant.

      I don’t think anyone doubts A&F would have disqualified anyone they thought would not comply with their policy. For instance if someone thought they needed to wear a head scarf to prevent cosmic rays from giving them cancer, or if someone insisted on wearing tinfoil so others could not listen in on their thoughts. Some Muslims just happen to be part of that subset of the population who will not comply because in their case they believe an invisible man will be angry with them if they immodestly flaunt their hair in public. That is no less ridiculous than the other beliefs I listed but we classify their belief as a religious one and give it special protection. Fair enough. It doesn’t mean it is not worthy of mockery though and I was glad to provide it. Anyone trapped in Islam needs to hear criticism of it until it is abandoned or reformed.

      So the issue is really at what point does a religious practice disqualify one from being considered for a job? If you can’t handle pork then you can’t get a job handling pork at the sausage factory. But here the question is if you have to wear some bit of 7th century fashion, regardless of the reason, can you be
      disqualified from a job selling fashion? No matter how you slice it that is what it comes down to. If you can’t be excluded then stores can’t have a dress policy like the one in question. So while the court may have been ruling on one
      issue they were effectively deciding another when they said you can’t exclude
      such people from the hiring pool. I see no scenario where the courts would rule that you can’t exclude people who observe a particular practice but you don’t have to accommodate that practice once you hire them. What would be the point? It is the same outcome either way.

      Justice Thomas was correct in that it is the policy that is being judged
      whether the other justices acknowledge it or not. He is very good at seeing to
      the heart of an issue and I don’t think the others understand the implications
      of their ruling.

      As to the law not having changed for decades I think that too is an oversimplification. You seem to have some notion that the law is rational and
      that it details all possible scenarios. It is not and it does not. It uses words like “necessary and reasonable accommodation” as placeholders for saying “whatever the judges feel like deciding when the time comes.” So they could very well rule that applicants wearing a hijab can’t be screened out but an African shaman who shows up at the interview shirtless with a bone through his nose can be eliminated. We just don’t know until they rule because there is no way to predict what they will say. So I don’t think you are correct in saying this decision changes nothing. At the very least it clarifies what the few
      guys who interpret/make the law will pretend the law means in a certain
      scenario. And then we will have to pretend along with them.

      Let’s just hope in the end we don’t have to pretend to the point where we have
      to consult women in burqas as to what is most fashionable to wear. Presumably there is no limiting principle that would demand you must hire people from a sect which requires hijabs but not one which requires full body coverings. Certainly the court has not enumerated one. But it will be forced to
      if we continue down this path because that is too absurd even for them and they will feel the need to rationalize a distinction at that point.

      Like I say, they make it up as they go along and none of it makes any sense or is predictable. The only way to protect yourself if you are a business is to not have any dress codes because even neutral ones will get you in trouble. As professor Foley says,” Employers, however, will likely be more constrained in their ability to impose dress restrictions (hair; facial hair; clothing) that disproportionately impact certain religions, as it will be argued that their dress policy “motivates” an adverse employment action, because they don’t want to “accommodate” a person who doesn’t satisfy their policy.” And as a business owner I can tell you that is exactly how companies will see it.