Collins, C., & Sokolowski, J. (2015, June 12). [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.laboremploymentlawblog.com/2015/06/articles/discrimination/supreme-court-sides-with-eeoc-in-abercrombie-fitch-hijab-case/
Zakrzewski, K. (2005). . U. Pa. Journal of Labor and Employment Law, 7(2), 431-461. Retrieved from https://www.law.upenn.edu/journals/jbl/articles/volume7/issue2/Zakrzewski7U.Pa.J.Lab.&Emp.L.431%282005%29.pdf
Discrimination Laws: Advantages and Disadvantages for both Employees and Business
This discussion assignment requires you to submit at least four posts: an initial post, two reply posts to fellow students in threads other than your own, and a revised post.
Prepare: In your first post in this discussion, you will become familiar with the case of Abercrombie & Fitch by means of the relevant material in the Required Resources this week. There is also a specific media feature located at the end of Section 5.3 of the textbook titled Workplace Discrimination: Abercrombie & Fitch. In order to be prepared for this task, you will need to complete the required readings and media listed.
Reflect: There are two sides to consider in the Abercrombie & Fitch case. On the one hand, we have the job candidate’s side. She went to the job interview wearing a hijab. The interviewer did not remark on the hijab, and the candidate also did not volunteer that her religious beliefs required her to wear a hijab. She was subsequently not hired based on the perception that her appearance was incongruous with the company’s look policy. For example, caps are not permitted and the male sales associates (referred to as “models” in the company’s corporate language) are often shirtless and in sweatpants in order to create the mood at the stores for the aesthetic for which Abercrombie & Fitch has become known: young, preppy, and hormonally charged. When she was notified that she was not hired for the position, she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that, in turn, filed a lawsuit on her behalf alleging a violation of Title VII.
On the other hand, we have Abercrombie & Fitch’s side. As a company doing business in the United States, Abercrombie & Fitch is legally permitted to hire those employees who fit its look policy. This is no different from the look requirements for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, the Chicago Bulls, the New York City Ballet company, or for jockeys hired by thoroughbred owners to race them at the Kentucky Derby. In all of these cases, there are height, size, and other look requirements for employment that are justified by the particular demands and aesthetics of the position. She was found to be qualified for the job but her dress was clearly in conflict with Abercrombie & Fitch’s look policy. Yet, the job applicant knowingly sought employment at this retailer.
According to the law, should a special accommodation be required due to a religious practice, then Title VII dictates that the look requirements give way to the religious requirement in order not to be considered an act of religious discrimination.
The EEOC prevailed in the District Court, but this judgment was reversed by the Tenth Circuit on the ground that failure-to-accommodate liability only attaches when a job candidate provides the potential employer with knowledge of the need for an accommodation due to religious practice. Once it reached the Supreme Court, the decision was made in favor of the job candidate. According to Justice Scalia,
Title VII does not demand mere neutrality with regard to religious practices—that they be treated no worse than other practices. Rather, it gives them favored treatment, affirmatively obligating employers not “to fail or refuse to hire or discharge any individual . . . because of such individual’s” “religious observance and practice.” An employer is surely entitled to have, for example, a no headwear policy as an ordinary matter. But when an applicant requires an accommodation as an “aspec[t] of religious . . . practice,” it is no response that the subsequent “fail[ure] . . . to hire” was due to an otherwise-neutral policy. Title VII requires otherwise-neutral policies to give way to the need for an accommodation.
The only dissenting opinion was that of Justice Thomas who wrote:
Mere application of a neutral policy cannot constitute “intentional discrimination.”…I would hold that Abercrombie’s conduct did not constitute “intentional discrimination.” Abercrombie refused to create an exception to its neutral Look Policy for Samantha Elauf ’s religious practice of wearing a headscarf… In doing so, it did not treat religious practices less favorably than similar secular practices, but instead remained neutral with regard to religious practices…Resisting this straightforward application of §1981a, the majority expands the meaning of “intentional discrimination” to include a refusal to give a religious applicant “favored treatment.”…But contrary to the majority’s assumption, this novel theory of discrimination is not commanded by the relevant statutory text.
Write: In the first part of your initial post, you will need to introduce the Abercrombie & Fitch lawsuit. In this introduction, you will also need to (1) articulate the freedoms that companies in the United States enjoy given our relatively-free market system and (2) present the Title VII regulations concerning employment discrimination. These will provide the setting for you to be able to examine how the nation’s laws affect the hiring practices of Abercrombie & Fitch and other companies whose hiring policy includes a particular aesthetic for employees.
In the second part of your initial post, present your analysis of this case in a way that identifies which entities (Abercrombie & Fitch as a corporation, the economic system in the USA, the regulatory control of the state, or all of these) have a role in the problem that led to the lawsuit under examination. In your analysis, you must assess the positive or negative effects of the interplay between business activity and one of the following: the free-market system, advertising, hiring regulations, or corporate social responsibility. Your focus must be an ethical analysis of this interplay. Be sure to clearly identify the ethical theory that you are applying in your analysis, and to support your analysis by reliable and/or scholarly sources.
Revise: Read the feedback provided by your professor to your initial post, either directly to you or to your fellow students. Use this as an opportunity to learn from your professor, especially with regard to the best ways to apply the course material and your research to your analysis. On the basis of what you have learned in this process, post an improved revision of your initial post that applies the additional knowledge that you have gained.
Remember that your grade depends on the quality of your initial and revised responses, not just on the submission of an attempt at improvement. It is thus to your advantage to post the best initial post you can and then to also improve that best effort as much as you can through revision.
Requirements for Your Initial Post:
Requirements for Replies to Other Threads:
Requirements for Revising Your Initial Post:
In the Week Three Assignment, you engaged in a case analysis of a current business problem using some of the components of an argumentative essay. In this written assignment, you will write a complete argumentative essay as described in Sections 9.1 and 9.2 of With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Foster, Hardy, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). This essay will include a revised and polished version of your Week Three Assignment, an objection to your thesis, a rebuttal, and concluding remarks. In order to benefit the most, you should start working on your Final Project from the time you receive your Week Three Assignment back with comments from your professor.
Your assignment should include the following:
A revision of your Week Three Case Analysis Assignment. Your revision should represent a substantial edit of your work that fully incorporates feedback from your professor and goes well beyond correcting any grammatical or APA errors.
The strongest possible objection to your thesis. After the final paragraph of your Week Three Case Analysis Assignment, start a new paragraph that introduces the strongest possible objection to your thesis. The considerations for this are detailed in Section 9.2 of With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). Make sure to employ the appropriate language to introduce the objection, such as “some may object to my thesis as follows” or “according to [so and so] the thesis presented here fails to account for X” [whatever he or she finds problematic]. You can find other language to do this, of course, but the key point here is to make sure that you indicate that someone else is speaking when presenting this objection.
It is also important to remember that you do research to discover good objections and not merely objections that are weak and thus easily rebutted. Look for peer-reviewed journal articles in the Ashford University Library, full-text articles in Google Scholar, or articles in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Present the opposing position fairly and in detail. This may take more than one paragraph.
A rebuttal. This is a refutation of the objection that you have just presented. Start this in a new paragraph following the objection paragraph(s). Once again, follow the indications of Section 9.2 of With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). You may point out an error in the objection. Or you may show that, while it is an important objection, it does not apply squarely to your argument, or does not account for facts that make it irrelevant. Above all, make sure to maintain philosophical decorum in your rebuttal. Toward this end, you should apply the principles of charity and of accuracy, first introduced in the Week One course material. See “Confronting Disagreement” in Section 9.4 of With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015).
Closing remarks. End your argumentative essay with a paragraph of closing remarks. Provide some reflections of what you have attempted to achieve by means of your essay. You could, for example, explain how your essay sheds light on the broader controversy that it addresses. Or you could point out how your essay addresses a frequently ignored point or the unpopular side in the controversy. You could also reflect on the related matters in the broader controversy that would be useful to examine by others. Do not merely summarize what you have done in the body of your essay, and do not add new information here that would support or contradict your essay since the body of your essay should have addressed all the relevant points. See “Closing Your Essay” in Section 9.2 of With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo (2015).
Requirements for your Assignment:
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