TULSA, Okla. -- TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A federal appeals court has dismissed claims by an Oklahoma woman who says she was not hired by retailer Abercrombie & Fitch because her headscarf conflicted with the company's dress code, which has since been changed.
A federal judge in 2011 sided with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Samantha Elauf. The EEOC alleged that Elauf wasn't hired in 2008 at an Abercrombie store in Tulsa's Woodland Hills Mall because her hijab violated the retailer's "Look Policy."
That policy, the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday, is intended to promote and showcase the Abercrombie brand, which "exemplifies a classic East Coast collegiate style of clothing." Abercrombie contends that its Look Policy is critical to the health and vitality of its "preppy" and "casual" brand, the decision states.
The court said Elauf never told Abercrombie she needed a religious accommodation, even though she was wearing the headscarf during her interview.
"Ms. Elauf never informed Abercrombie prior to its hiring decision that she wore her headscarf or 'hijab' for religious reasons and that she needed an accommodation for that practice, due to a conflict between the practice and Abercrombie's clothing policy," the decision states.
A three-judge panel of the appellate court sent the case back to U.S. District Court in Tulsa with instructions to vacate its judgment in favor of EEOC and enter judgment in favor of Abercrombie.
The Ohio-based company changed its policy three years ago. It recently settled similar lawsuits in California.
Also on HuffPost:
In 2006, Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries said in an interview with Salon that his brand is <a href="http://www.salon.com/2006/01/24/jeffries/" target="_hplink">"absolutely" "exclusionary"</a> and only "want[s] to market to cool, good-looking people."
"Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. <a href="http://www.salon.com/2006/01/24/jeffries/" target="_blank">You don't alienate anybody, but you don't excite anybody, either</a>," Jeffries said in the interview with Salon.
In May 2013, <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/abercrombie-wants-thin-customers-2013-5" target="_hplink">Business Insider</a> resurfaced Jeffries' comments in an interview with Robin Lewis, co-author of the recent book "The New Rules of Retail." Lewis claims that Jeffries doesn't "want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people," as evidenced by the sexy man on this billboard.
The repurposing of Jeffries' outrageous comments basically blew up the Internet. One man went as far as to start a brand readjustment campaign targeted at the retailer by <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/abercrombie-and-fitch-homeless-brand-readjustment_n_3272498.html" target="_hplink">giving away Abercrombie clothing to homeless people</a>. The video garnered millions of views in just a matter of days.
After awhile, Jeffries decided to issue this statement and posted it to Facebook.
But most people really didn't buy it.
Some people took their comments a bit too far.
While others, decided to keep their posts simple.
Even Ellen DeGeneres took aim at Jeffries' past remarks!
Eventually, Abercrombie was forced to issue yet another apology. Teen activists went to Abercrombie's headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, to protest Jeffries. After meeting with the activists, Abercrombie issued a statement stating that the brand is committed to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/23/abercrombie-and-fitch-apology_n_3323668.html" target="_hplink">"anti-bullying in addition to our ongoing support of diversity and inclusion." </a>
The end. For now.