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Religious Discrimination: Analysis of Case Study


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Religious Discrimination: Analysis of Case Study


There is a rising concern in the United States due to the higher rates of religious discrimination against non-Christians or non-religious groups. Even though Christianity is the dominant form of religion in the U.S., the country accommodates other faiths and should develop societal structures that prevent possible cases of discrimination due to one’s beliefs and values. Thus, the current paper analyzes the case of a Muslim employee who experienced religious discrimination in the workplace and proposes measures that should have been used to avoid such injustice.

Issues Umme-Hani Khan Encountered in the Workplace

Umme-Hani Khan experienced discrimination in the workplace due to her religion as a Muslim. She had limitations on her religious wear, which resulted in her having to choose between her religion and work. Khan, being a Muslim, had a distinct religious dress code that consisted of wearing headscarves: the hijab. Khan had to comply with the limitations placed on the use of headscarves. She had to ensure that her hijab corresponded to the company’s colors at the Hollister store where she worked. After the firm introduced a new working attire, Khan was put in a dilemma because she had to abandon the hijab not to lose her job. She was eventually fired because she could not continue working at the expense of her religious beliefs (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2013).

Do A & F’s Actions Represent Discrimination and Harassment?

A & F’s, also referred to as Abercrombie & Fitch’s, actions are discriminatory because they involve the unfair treatment of an employee due to her religious beliefs, as noted by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (n. d.). The company used Khan’s religious beliefs and values as a reason to fire her, which is a manifestation of discrimination and harassment. A & F did not seem to have a policy that allows employees to express their religious interests when considering the company dress code presented in the introduction of the ‘look policy.’ The company failed to justify its exclusion of the hijab from its new policy by showing how the hijab caused undue hardship on the firm’s daily operations. Yet, the government is at the forefront to ensure that workplace discrimination does not happen. It is, therefore, the mandate of every organization to be updated on the regulatory measures that should be observed in the workplace to avoid scenarios like those at A & F.

Elements of Law that A & F Should Consider

Firstly, A & F needs to understand how the law defines religious discrimination. The company, thereby, is meant to use this insight to deliberate on better inclusive laws to ensure that religious discrimination is no longer in its application of the ‘look policy.’ Secondly, the company needs to come to terms with the different forms of religious discrimination in the workplace. Every employee, regardless of their hierarchy, should undergo a special training to understand the different demeanors that fall under either category: discriminatory, harassment, and alienating. As a result, the company should consider harassment and segregation violation acts of one’s religious rights. All these types of religious discrimination are punishable by law, and taking them into account when formulating and developing company policies is important to avoid future lawsuits. It is, therefore, necessary for A & F to have well laid out religion accommodation procedures that enable employees to present their religious concerns when the company is implementing strategies bound to affect their beliefs.

Assess What Actions the HR Director Could Have Taken to Address Khan’s Situation

The HR should have asked for a review of the company’s ‘look policy’ to ensure it favored every employee. The fact that companies are not allowed to exercise discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, religion, color, or sex should have prompted the HR to reconsider firing Khan due to her hijab. Instead, the HR should have struck a balance between diversity and the ‘look policy’ by taking the lead in developing an accommodation policy to integrate the staffs’ varied religious needs. Alternatively, the HR should have engaged Khan in an interactive session to understand her religious needs more, and thereby, balance the employee’s and company’s needs. In the case of Khan, it is not clear how the hijab would have been a burden to the company. Instead, it tends to affect the morale and performance of other staff as they feel that their needs are not addressed.

Determine What the HR Director Could Have Done to Prevent the Situation

It seems that even though A & F demonstrated diversity among the employees through the inclusion of a Muslim, the policies were not varied. The HR should have carried out thorough investigations during the hiring process to understand the needs of Khan (Remington et al., 2012). After all, Khan’s position was not affected by one’s sex, religion or nationality, and, therefore, the HR should have devised a way to accommodate her religious needs in the new ‘look policy.’

The HR should have made sure that the workplace was safe and friendly for all staff considering the existence of anti-discriminatory laws for the workplace. The U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (n. d.) states that an employee should seek accommodation for dressing or grooming needs related to religion. Hence, in A & F’s case, while implementing the ‘look policy,’ it would have been necessary for the HR to send a memo and invite any individual with a special request to come forward. Since 1964, when the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (CRA) was enacted, religious discrimination is an offense punishable by law, and every HR director should be aware of it. Therefore, in the case of Khan, there might have been an oversight that should have been prevented by the holistic inclusion of cultural, religious, and social diversity (Ghumman et al., 2013).

Determine What More the HR Director Could Do to Ensure that this Type of Situation Does not Occur in Future

The HR should organize a workshop or seminar for every employee to be trained on workplace discrimination and associated anti-discriminatory laws. It is also necessary to review all the policies in the organization to ensure that they accommodate the varied needs of all employees. The HR should lead the development of anti-discriminatory policies in the workplace by ensuring there are mechanisms that factor in the different employees seeking religious expression in the workplace (Beane et al., 2017). Every HR, therefore, needs to adequately address the issue of diversity to ensure all the necessary measures that allow an inclusive workplace are in place.


The case of Khan should be a lesson to other firms on the importance of having an all-inclusive working policy that factors in the interests of every employee to avoid the occurrence of workplace discrimination. The anti-discriminatory law asserts the essence of accommodating individual religious beliefs and values as long as they do not cause undue hardship on the company. Employers, therefore, should save themselves from unnecessary lawsuits by developing protocols that address religion discrimination by developing inclusive policies that accommodate individual beliefs and values.


Beane, D., Ponnapalli, A., & Viswesvaran, C. (2017). Workplace religious displays and     perceptions of organization attractiveness. Employee Responsibilities and Rights    Journal, 29, 73-88. 10.1007/s10672-016-9286-9.

Ghumman, S., Ryan, A. M., Barcla y, L. A., & Markel, K. S. (2013). Religious      discrimination in the workplace: A review and examination of current and future             trends. Journal of Business and Psychology, 28(4), 439-454.

Remington, J., Heiser, R. T., Smythe, C., & Sovereign, K. (2012). Human resources law (5th        ed.). Pearson.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (n. d.). Religious discrimination.          Retrieved September 8, 2020, from

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2013). Abercrombie & Fitch liable for            religious discrimination in EEOC suit, court says. Retrieved September 8, 2020,       from discrimination-eeoc-suit-court-says.

Writing instructions

Discrimination and Harassment [WLOs: 2, 3, 4] [CLOs: 1, 2] The Civil Rights Act of 1991 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or gender. Over the years, the U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Courts have issued several rulings dealing with workplace discrimination and this Act. For this assignment, you will review the Abercrombie & Fitch Liable for Religious Discrimination in EEOC Suit, Court Says (Links to an external site.) case press release. After you review the case study, address the following: Examine the specific issues Umme-Hani Khan encountered in the workplace. Assess whether the actions of A&F represent discrimination and harassment. Evaluate the elements of law that are important for A&F to consider. Assess what actions of the HR director could have taken in response to Umme-Hani Khan’s situation. Determine what the HR director could have done to prevent the situation and what more could he/she do to ensure that this type of situation would not occur in the future. The Discrimination and Harassment Paper Must be four to five double-spaced pages in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA style.