Cases & Deals

Abercrombie & Fitch argues in front of U.S. Supreme Court in Title VII religious accommodation case

Client(s) Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

Jones Day represented Abercrombie & Fitch Co. in a Title VII case before the Supreme Court of the United States involving the standards for religious accommodation claims. The EEOC sued Abercrombie for declining to offer a religious accommodation to an applicant whose headscarf did not comply with Abercrombie's dress and grooming policy. Because the applicant did not request an accommodation or otherwise mention religion during her interview, Abercrombie did not have actual knowledge of the religious nature of the headscarf or the applicant's need for a religious accommodation.

In June 2015, the Supreme Court remanded the case to the Tenth Circuit, reversing the grant of summary judgment in Abercrombie's favor, but also rejecting the Solicitor General's request for summary judgment in EEOC's favor. The Court's majority held that an employer can be liable for failure to accommodate a religious practice even absent actual notice of the need for such accommodation. Justice Thomas, however, would have accepted Abercrombie's argument and held that a neutral dress and grooming policy cannot constitute intentional religious discrimination.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., No. 14-86 (U.S.)