Attorneys Say Abercrombie & Fitch Should Pay For Discriminating Against Tulsa Teen

Monday, July 18th 2011, 9:49 pm
By: News On 6

Ashli Sims, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A federal jury will decide whether Abercrombie and Fitch will be punished for discriminating against a Tulsa teenager. Samantha Elauf claims the clothing store refused to hire her because she wears a head scarf.

A federal judge already ruled that Abercrombie and Fitch violated Elauf's civil rights. Now a jury will decide if the clothing company should have to pay for that violation.

7/18/2011 Related Story: Jury To Decide If Abercrombie & Fitch Owes Tulsa Teen Monetary Damages

"Yeah, I'm proud of who I am. I'm not going to change who I am just to work somewhere," Elauf said in 2008.

News On 6 interviewed Samantha Elauf back then, when she was 17 years old.

She says the Abercrombie Kids store at Tulsa's Woodland Hills Mall refused to hire her because she wore a head scarf, which doesn't follow the company's "Look Policy."

Elauf sued the store for discrimination.

"I think it will set an example for Muslim girls not to be afraid to apply for a job just because they wear a head scarf," she said at the time.

Elauf's attorneys offered testimony Monday from several Abercrombie workers at the time of the incident.

Heather Cooke was an assistant store manager who interviewed Elauf for the job. She told the court she wanted to hire Elauf, but her district manager said no because of Elauf's head scarf.

Cooke says she told that manager that Elauf wore the scarf for religious reasons and the manager responded someone could come in and "paint himself green and call it religion."

A federal judge has already ruled Abercrombie and Fitch did violate Elauf's rights. Now it's a question of damages.

Abercrombie and Fitch's attorneys argued that Elauf didn't suffer any damages, so the retail chain shouldn't have to pay a dime.  Elauf's attorneys say she was humiliated and that's why Abercrombie should have to pay up.

Now it's up to a jury. They're expected to get the case on Wednesday.