About Discrimination

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About Discrimination
Despite nations and governments banning discrimination, some people always become victims based on their religion especially whenever applying for competitive jobs where an interview is required. Different case have been reported in the past about discrimination in employment based on religion especially in the United States but the latest one is the case that have been filled by a lady named Samantha Elauf through her lawyer versus a retailer named Abercrombie and Fitch. This case was all about whether this firm was right or wrong and more precisely whether it dishonored federal rules regarding matters of discrimination of religion basis. Samantha was overlooked in a job request only because she had worn a headscarf associated with Muslims. This case was precisely raised after this seventeen aged lady applied for a job and turned to an interview in Abercrombie Kids shop. After undergoing the interview, she was passed eligible by attaining a relatively higher score and earning a recommendation from the assistant manager who was the interviewer. She gained good marks on the three factors that this organization was looking at in order to get an employee who qualified as per their requirement. The qualifying candidate was supposed to be outgoing and able to promote miscellany, show a character of superiority and aspiration and be stylish (Totenberg 2015). From the three, she passed perfectly. However, unexpectedly, the assistant manager took the case to his superiors after he seemed concerned by the fact that Samantha was wearing a headscarf. He further argued that he thought the attire was won on religious basis. Due to this reason, the issue was then taken to the regional; manager of this company. Surprisingly, Samantha’s points which she had cored earlier were lowered and her eligibility downgraded just by the fact that she had a headscarf. As a result, she ended up not getting a job she had qualified.Later; Samantha learned all this from a friend who worked in the same firm. This is after she was told that she had passed the interview and she was to receive a phone call informing her on the day to report.As a result Samantha felt that this was a violation of the Title VII that prohibits any form of discrimination of the matters of employment and together with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a case.
Title VII
According to federal laws, Civil Rights Act of 1964 title VII forbids those in employers’ position from discriminating any given person due to his or her religion or due to failure to honor any religious belief either in firing, hiring or through other related business transactions. Moreover, this law still bans any form of job segregation basing the act on the religion of these people. This is where some people are not allowed to handle customers due to their religious beliefs or religious origin. This law discourages discrimination on religion basis but on the other hand encourages that different employers should strive to accommodate the beliefs and religious ways of these employees with the only exception being where such an act would in one way or another contribute in burdening the employers business operations to a considerable unbearable level(Rodriguez and Barry 1421). A religious accommodation which is thought to be reasonable is the one that embarks on fine-tuning the working settings and gives room for any employee to exercise his or her religion. Some of the ways of obliging a given employee faith and beliefs includes, deliberate shift swaps, flexible scheduling, lateral transfers, job reassignments and allowing exceptions in the grooming rules. Moreover, Tittle VII also proscribes any form of religious harassment of any worker by for instance making a remark that is offensive and based around the religion practices or believes of that person. Despite the law not stating about simple teasing, isolation, offhand comments once such forms of harassments are prolonged may end up creating an individual harming environment and may attract law charges. Finally, this law discourages any form of reaction to someone who have objected to an act of discrimination in any employment or someone who files a legal charge, participates in the process of investigation or testifies in a case concerning religious percipience at workplaces (Rodriguez and Barry 1424).
Hearing of the Case
This case has been heard in the United States Supreme Court being preceded by one of the justices named Samuel Alito. Right from the start the case, it was predicted to raise heated debate between the two well-trained defense forces representing the two parties. By considering that factor, the judges opted not to approach the case directly but decide to use related hypotheticals as the point of introducing the case. The first justice started by assuming that only four people turned up of the interview of the post Samantha had applied for. Then he went further to give the characteristics of the four people who have been virtually adopted in this hypothetical. The first of the these four people is a Sikh male gender tiringin a turban, then followed by a male in a hat from Hasidic origin, the third applicant is a lady in hijab who is a Muslim and the fourth and last person is a Catholic nun wearing a habit. Alito then went further to challenge the lawyer who had been representing Abercrombie organization with a question whether the attires of the four people where representing their religion backgrounds and beliefs or they were just mere choices of fashion. Moreover, he challenged the lawyer to answer whether the court can assume that Abercrombie have an answer as to why these people were dressed in this manner (Totenberg 2015).
In the defense, Abercrombie tried to support their action by raising a number of factors. First, the defense cited a policy they termed as ‘look policy’. As per their lawyer, the individual appearance and choice of clothes mattered a lot in this organization. This policy of Abercrombie banned their workers from wearing black clothing and caps. From the look of the Samantha as per the day of interview, the choice of jeans and a T-shirt fitted well with the strategies of this organization. However, the choice of the headscarf was not within the policies of Abercrombie. The reasoning of disallowing the headscarves and caps as cited by the Abercrombie lawyer is too casual and may not be relevant in protecting the image this organization intends to protect. Moreover, Abercrombie defense went further to cite that the same issue was pin-pointed in the interview time and Elauf was given space to make decisions. However, Samantha requested to be exempted from the rules and policies and be given a chance to attire in the headscarf citing religion as the reason.On the other hand, Samantha disagreed with the cited defense and said she never knew about the policy. Moreover, he argues that it was a violation of the United States laws by downgrading an applicant who was highly rated due to her religious options.
Supreme Court Stand
Different judges, lawyers and the legal defendants’ raises different reasoning and explanation concerning this case in attempt to warrant just and informed decisions. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission anchored with Samantha and later Ian Gershengorn the Deputy Solicitor General informed the Supreme Court that since the Abercrombie being the employer had noted that the applicant needed religious accommodation, the organization could have started and notified the applicant about her religion and the welfare of the organization and then they debate on the possibilities and impossibilities (Totenberg 2015). On the other side, Chief Justice Roberts interjects went further to cite an example through asking a question aiming to give a different instance of this matter. He cited an instance where a male applicant with Middle Eastern look turns out for an interview with unshaved goatee. However, the interviewing employer has a negative attitude towards bearded people, but asking whether that person is having beards as a result of his religion would be just like inviting a lawsuit. On the other hand Deputy Solicitor, Gershengorn answered by using New York Yankees as an example. He stated that one of these organization rules is against hairy faces. However, this rule does not prevent this organization from tracking bearded free agents. They only assume that once these people get into the Yankees they would shave. Different justices seemed to agree that the best question that suits not only the Abercrombie but other organization was to ask a more general question like, the organization have a policy against headscarves and do you have any issue with that? However Gershengorn felt the question will still end up sparking a religion debate as the presented one. After all this examples, Shay Dvoretzky the lawyer who was representing Abercrombie failedto change his stand and restated that the applicant was responsible for her religion matters (Totenberg 2015).
The next person who followed with his hypothesis was Justice Kagan. He opted to use the Jews to frame his hypothesis. He used an organization where an employer has a policy that he should not hire any Jew. Unfortunately, someone with a name which appears to be of Jewish origin walks into the interviewing room. By taking a look, the man appears to be more of Jew and he or she lacks any distinctive feature to be fully convinced. In the process of the interview, the interviewee says nothing about the Jews but the employer just adopts an assumption and basis the actions on this assumption that he is Jewish. As a result, this man ends up not getting the job despite perfectly qualifying. Kagan ends the hypothesis by posing a question. Is that a violation of law? In defending the Abercrombie, lawyer Shay argued that the cited examples were not relevant in the situation surround the Abercrombie’s since their policy on caps and headscarves is not created with an intention to victimize anyone. On return, Justice Bader Ginsburg dismisses Shay’s reasoning by arguing that the federal rules requires not to accommodate caps but minds about religious practices accommodation. To add to Justice Bader reasoning, Justice Roberts raised the sentiments telling Abercrombie’s lawyer that the kind of the argument he raised did not fit in such a scenario. The issue is not all about whether a given organization is ensuring that all its employers are treated equally. He went further to explain that any organization is required by law to strive and accommodate various people regardless of their beliefs and practices based on their religion. Then Justice Kagan added to the previous statement by saying that if anyone is wearing the headscarf due to his or her religion beliefs, then the look policy adopted by Abercrombie should not matter a lot and indeed the organization should have allowed exceptions in such scenario. Kagan then observed that if a state was allowed where Samantha prevailed in the interview, it could have resulted into what many people feel that it is uncouth question (Totenberg 2015). Imagine, a scenario where Elauf was asked whether the headscarf she was having was contributed by her religion or any related belief. Moreover, he highlighted that if Abercrombie policy was upheld as legitimate it would lead to stereotyping of people and more notably harboreda bunch of qualified professionals from getting a job they qualify. Thenhe concluded the discussion by posing a question to everyone who was in the courtroom and those who participated in the hearing by asking between the two options that were highlighted, which was better and would serve both the employer and the employee better.
Possible Court Verdict
I would lay the possible verdict of this case basing the argument on the religion and employment. Wearing of a headscarf made Samantha look like a Muslim one of the religion that is globally recognized. Moreover, I believe that some of the customer of Abercrombie are Muslims and are not denied that right to buy from these stores by the virtue of being from the Muslim origin. One of the possible factors that Abercrombie could have used in disqualifying the Samantha application was to compare between the other qualification she had and the virtue of wearing a headscarf. Just by taking a keen follow up on the interview process and the disqualification one, it appears the manager who interviewed this lady had a feeling that she was worth job and thus why he did not engage in the decision to disqualify her solely. As per the business rules and code of conduct, in order for any business or organization to be considered as ethical, they are required to consider both personal and organization matters that affects both the organization and employees (Adam and Dalia 231). Therefore, in order for this organization to ensure that it honors that rule, it was fair for it to consider the fact that Samantha wore a headscarf from the religion perspective as supported in the discussion. Moreover, businesses are meant for people with diverse backgrounds and beliefs. Bearing in mind that the policy maker of the Abercrombie knew about the federal rule concerning discrimination of religion in any employment, it was reasonable to create some exceptions that would have prevented the matter at hand from occurring. The highlighted point where the assistant manager of Abercrombie could tell that Samantha was a Muslim just by look without even asking her can be used to explain this scenario. It is arguable that, if this organization objected against use of caps in order to protect its image more specifically to its customers, chances are high that most of them could have understood that Samantha was a Muslim just by a look as the assistant manager did. Otherwise, the remaining option is only that the Abercrombie overlooked Samantha application due to the fact that she had a Muslim origin.
According to the federal rules and law as highlighted earlier, employers are not supposed to deny someone an opportunity for a job which they qualify regardless of their religion unless this organization is able to show that accommodation of such a worker would have negative impacts something the Abercrombie has failed to prove. By only arguing that the ‘look policy’ used by this organization is note based on religion is not enough to defend this scenario. It is undisputed that, the body that created this policy knew that the use of headscarves is a common trait with the Muslim women and thus disallowing headgears without exceptions would trigger a religion-law conflict. The argument that was adopted by Appeal Court was not fully enough to rule in disfavor of Samantha. Both of the parties never highlighted the issue about the headscarf and the scenario which could have spiked such a debate was only through being informed that she did not qualify for the interview. Otherwise, she was told that she had qualified and indeed to wait for a phone call. Reasoning from this juncture, it was unreasonable for her to invoke other debate once she had already been told that she was eligible for the post. Citing the incidences that have happened earlier on the same organization concerning the use of headscarves is another factor that can be used in ruling the case in indulgence of Samantha. For instance, it was reported that in the year two thousand and eight another female applicant was overlook by Abercrombie due to the fact of having a headscarf. This incidence and the matter about Samantha can be used to support that the management of this organization did not dislike Samantha but her headscarf. Bearing in mind that this headscarf was associated with her religion, this was a violation of law against discrimination based on religion without a good conviction (Rodriguez and Barry 1421).
To sum up, in order to ensure that this organization remained as ethical as required by both business and federal laws, Abercrombie should have tried to bend its policies in order to accommodate Samantha who from the interview criteria qualified to be in this position. Doing this could have avoided a scenario where they reinstate they are not religiously biased yet they failed to accommodate a lady due to the fact that she wore a headscarf a trait is popular in the Muslim religion. Considering all these factors it was reasonable for the Supreme Court to rule in the favor of Samantha since the Abercrombie lacks any solid factor that could have ruled out all the chances of this lady working in their stores. Moreover, by the virtue of changing ‘look policy’ in order to accommodate the headscarves in the year two thousand and thirteen means that even the management of the organization felt that the policy violated the religion rule. Indeed, if the adoption and employing of people from this religion who wore the headscarves would lead to a major negative impact to the organization they could not have changed the policy.
Work Cited
Adam, Avshalom M., and Dalia Rachman-Moore. “The methods used to implement an ethical code of conduct and employee attitudes.” Journal of Business Ethics 54.3 (2004): 225-244. Print.
Rodriguez, Daniel B., and Barry R. Weingast. “The Positive Political Theory of Legislative History: New Perspectives on the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Its Interpretation.” University of Pennsylvania Law Review (2003): 1417-1542. Print.
Totenberg, Nina. “High Court Leans Toward Religious Protection in Headscarf Case.” npr. 25th Feb, 2015. Web. 27th Feb., 2015. <http://www.npr.org/2015/02/25/389035505/high-court-leans-toward-religious-protection-in-headscarf-case>

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