The United States Supreme Court considered a case in which a woman was not hired for a job because she wore a headscarf for religious reasons. The woman was a devout Muslim who held a sincere belief that her religion required her to wear a headscarf. She applied for a job at Abercrombie and Fitch, which is a retail clothing store. Abercrombie had a company dress code that prohibited employees from wearing any head covering, such as hats, caps and the like. When the woman interviewed for the position, she wore her head scarf but did not state that that she was wearing it for religious reasons. However, the assistant manager who interviewed her assumed that this was the reason she wore the headscarf. The company declined to hire the woman because her headscarf violated the company dress code.

The woman filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed a lawsuit on her behalf. The lawsuit was appealed to the United States Supreme Court. Abercrombie argued that it did not discriminate against the woman based on her religion because she never stated that she was wearing the headscarf for religious reasons. It also pointed out that the “no headwear” policy applied to everyone, regardless of religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court held that Abercrombie discriminated against the woman in violation of federal law when it declined to hire her. The law does not require that an employer have actual knowledge that a person is doing something for religious reasons. Rather, it states that a person’s religious practices cannot be a motivating factor behind the employer’s decision not to hire her. In this case, the company was required to make an exception to the policy and permit the woman to wear a headscarf.