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Abercrombie loses ruling over Muslim garb

(SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE) Abercrombie & Fitch and its Hollister Co.outlet in San Mateo violated the religious rights of a Muslim employee who was fired for refusing to remove her headscarf, a federal judge has ruled.

The clothing retailer failed to prove it would suffer undue hardship by accommodating the beliefs of Hani Khan, who wore the hijab mandated by her faith for four months at the store in the Hillsdale Shopping Center before she was fired in February 2010, said U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

She said Abercrombie & Fitch, while maintaining a mandatory dress and grooming code for employees, has granted exemptions since 2005 that have allowed male employees to wear a Jewish yarmulke, a baseball cap and facial hair, a female employee to wear a jeweled cross, and more than 16 other women to wear hijabs.