College sophomore Hani Khan had worked for three months as a stockroom clerk at a Hollister Co. clothing store in San Francisco when she was told the head scarf she wears in observance of Islam violated the company's "look policy."
The policy instructs employees on clothing, hairstyles, makeup and accessories they may wear to work. When supervisors told Khan she had to remove the scarf, known as a hijab, to work at the store, she refused on religious grounds. A week later, she says, she was fired.
In February, Khan filed a federal job discrimination complaint against Hollister and its parent company, Abercrombie & Fitch. She is among a growing number of Muslim women filing complaints of discrimination at work, in businesses or in airports.
In 2009, 425 Muslim women filed workplace discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Spokesman David Grinberg says the commission does not track filings by religious garb. The EEOC investigates complaints and dismisses or resolves them through mediation or lawsuits.