The U.S. Supreme Court is located in Washington, D.C. [photo: Wikimedia Commons]
CHURCH FILED AMICUS BRIEF SUPPORTING MUSLIM WOMAN WEARING HIJAB
October 02, 2014 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Ansel Oliver
The Supreme Court of the United States today accepted its first workplace religious freedom case in nearly 30 years, one that Seventh-day Adventists and other faith groups had urged the nation’s top court to grant.
The case, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission vs. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., involves a Muslim woman who was denied a job because her hijab—a head covering—violated corporate policy. Adventist feared that a ruling by a lower court could eroded workplace religious freedom rights, including those of Adventists who choose not to work on Saturday, the biblical Sabbath.
The Adventist Church in August filed an amicus brief, or “friend-of-the-court” brief, joined by seven other faith groups urging the Supreme court to hear the case.
At issue, according to Church legal counselors, is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which obligates employers to take steps to “reasonably accommodate” a prospective employee’s “religious observance or practice.”
“We’re hopeful the Supreme Court will take a friendly view toward Title VII and realize its importance, specifically the broad protection that the law intended,” said Todd McFarland, associate general counsel for the Adventist world church.
A date for oral argument has yet to be scheduled.
The case stems from a 2008 incident in which Samantha Elauf wore a hijab when applying for a sales position at an Abercrombie & Fitch store in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After a manager confirmed with a supervisor that Elauf’s headwear violated store policy, she was deemed ineligible for hire without discussion of religious accommodation.