Protect Religious Freedom
The US Supreme Court heard an important case this week involving a Muslim woman, Samantha Elauf, and a US clothier, Abercrombie & Fitch, which denied her a job based on the fact that she wears a hijab (a headscarf, worn for religious reasons).
The circumstances of this case put it directly in the religious freedom spotlight. And, media accounts of the hearings suggest that the Supreme Court will side with Elauf, overturning a previous ruling against her in the Court of Appeals.
Our petition, which will be sent to the Justices of the Supreme Court, calls on them to respect religious freedom and side with the plantiff.
The facts of this important case are as follows:
In 2008, Samantha Elauf, then 17 years-old, applied for work at Abercrombie & Fitch. Although she did well in the interview, she was ultimately denied a job because of her religious garb, under the company’s “no hats” policy.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (a US government agency which enforces anti-discrimination legislation) took the case on behalf of Elauf, citing Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which says that employers must, “accommodate to an employee’s or prospective employee’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business.”
Lower courts had ruled in Elauf’s favour, but then a Federal Court of Appeals sided with Abercrombie & Fitch, which meant that this case would be heard by the Supreme Court.
According to reports about the hearing, the majority of Supreme Court Justices were not persuaded that a prospective employee should bear the entire burden of explaining to a prospective employer why they wear religious garb.
Christian, Muslim and Jewish legal societies filed 12 amicus briefs in support of this case – an encouraging show of unity.
Among them, the Becket Fund, which also served as counsel to Hobby Lobby in their case against the HHS mandate, also wrote a brief supporting Elauf’s case. The Fund’s senior counsel, Eric Baxter, said that employees, “shouldn’t have to wear a sign that says, ‘I’m religious’ before they are protected by our civil rights laws that prohibit religious discrimination.”
After the hearing, while thanking her supporters, Elauf said: “I am not only standing up for myself, but for all people who wish to adhere to their faith while at work. Observance of my faith should not prevent me from getting a job.”
Please sign our petition and encourage the Supreme Court to uphold religious freedom laws.
Your support will remind the Justices – in this case, and in those that follow – that religious freedom comes before commercial interests.
For more information, please see:
Sign this petition now!
Practicing One's Faith Shouldn't Mean Losing a Job