The case brought to light how company culture may infringe on people’s rights. Abercrombie & Fitch is a purveyor of pricey, preppy and body conscious clothes for teenagers and people in their early 20’s, they have propagated discriminatory and exclusionary behavior even in their marketing, they target cool and popular kids at schools at the expense of other young children. This is not acceptable in a diverse American society which advocates for inclusiveness. Samantha Elauf a young Muslim woman applied for a job wearing her hijab (Norton, 2016). The assistant manager deemed her qualified but worried would violate the company’s look policy. The relevant prohibition was found to be one forbidding caps. The equal employment opportunity commission filed a lawsuit on her behalf. The district court ruled in her favor and awarded her compensatory damages of $20,000. A decision which was later to be reversed by the tenth circuit court of appeal which stated that companies could not be forced to accommodate a religious practice (Gallagher, & Lippard, 2014). The Supreme Court having a final say in the matter found the practice to be unlawful
An employer can have a dress code of choice but this does not mean that it can be used as an item of discrimination as this goes against Title VII regulations. The look policy is very contentious, they tend to hire people who suit a certain profile, preferably white, well-toned with a great body, this constitutes their brand which they are entitled to but to an extent it borders on discrimination (Norton, 2016). The constitution does not directly constrain discrimination in the private sector. The private sector is highly liberalized. The private sector can monitor its employees through social media and blogs and is only limited to eavesdropping on personal conversations, they can decide on what goods to offer and who to serve for instance Abercrombie and Fitch does not sell sizes above 10. Title VII regulations include that an employer may not refuse to recruit, promote individuals of a certain religion, impose stricter promotion requirements to persons of a certain religion or impose more or different work regulation to that individual. It also states that an employer may not refuse to hire an applicant simply because he or she does not share employer’s religion and an employer may not exclude an applicant from hire because he or she may require reasonable accommodation that can be provided without undue hardship (Gallagher, & Lippard, 2014). Therefor if an employer refuses to hire a Muslim because of a hijab, a Jew because of a Yarmulke or a Sikh who wears a turban, it is unlawful.
The problem however may not lie with the organization’s policies which are constitutional; it is the freedom these companies have been granted whereby they operate however they want in the free market system. Not surprising is the fact that this is not the company’s first time to be sued because of discrimination in 2004 they had to pay 50 million dollars after thousand s of employees filed a class law suit claiming it discriminated against African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans in hiring practice and advertising (Norton, 2016). The company has publicly admitted to exclusionary behavior and it can be observed even in its advertisement, the company serves a particular segment of society and discriminates against the rest, there is therefore need for more regulations in the private sector, with regards to duty based ethics these organizations are bound to promote diversity not segregation, therefore their marketing policy and ways of carrying out business is does not serve society’s goals.