Monday, June 27, 2011

Muslim woman sues Abercrombie & Fitch over hijab

I posted on this because it is an example of poor management in the most visible way. Here is the lead from the story; check out the link to it if you want to see the entire article:

SAN FRANCISCO – A former stockroom worker for Abercrombie & Fitch Co. sued the clothing retailer in federal court Monday, saying she was illegally fired after refusing to remove her Muslim headscarf while on the job.

Hani Khan said a manager at the company's Hollister Co. store at the Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo hired her while she was wearing her hijab. The manager said it was OK to wear it as long as it was in company colors, Khan said.

Four months later, the 20-year-old says a district manager and human resources manager asked if she could remove the hijab while working, and she was suspended and then fired for refusing to do so.

It's the latest employment discrimination charge against the company's so-called "look policy," which critics say means images of mostly white, young, athletic-looking people. The New Albany, Ohio-based company has said it does not tolerate discrimination.

Still, Abercrombie has been the target of numerous discrimination lawsuits, including a federal class action brought by black, Hispanic and Asian employees and job applicants that was settled for $40 million in 2004. The company admitted no wrongdoing, though it was forced to implement new programs and policies to increase diversity.

"Growing up in this country where the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of religion, I felt let down," Khan, now a college student studying political science, said at a news conference. "This case is about principles, the right to be able to express your religion freely and be able to work in this country."

Abercrombie defended its record in a comment provided to The Associated Press, saying diversity in its stores "far exceeds the diversity in the population of the United States."

"We comply with the law regarding reasonable religious accommodation, and we will continue to do so," said Rocky Robbins, the company's general counsel. "We are confident that when this matter is tried, a jury will find that we have fully complied with the law."

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco comes after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in September that Khan was fired illegally. Khan's lawsuit was filed in conjunction with the EEOC's lawsuit.

It is not the first time the company has been charged with discriminating against Muslim women over the wearing of a hijab.

In 2009, Samantha Elauf, who was 17 at the time, filed a federal lawsuit in Tulsa, Okla., alleging the company rejected her for a job because she was wearing a hijab.

The EEOC filed another lawsuit for the same reason, saying the company denied work to a hijab-wearing woman who applied for a stocking position in 2008 at an Abercrombie Kids store at the Great Mall in Milpitas, Calif.


And so I posted:

This isn't going to earn me any thumb's up around here, but I'm hoping that some around here recognize that your mind is like a parachute; it only works when it's open.

A & F is wrong.

1) They hired her wearing the head scarf. If they had a problem with it, then they should not have added her to the payroll.

2) She works in the stockroom, not the sales floor. She will not affect the A & F "look."

3) Her face is not covered, so it doesn't interfere with on-the-job communications, or present a safety hazard due to restricted vision.

4) The hypocrisy of A & F is incredible. They talk all about "diversity," but fire someone who is diverse from their "look."

While I have no love for Islam, the idea that you hire someone knowing how they dress, and then firing that person for continuing to dress as-hired is wrong. How the CEO of A & F let this get by his or her desk is probably the most telling aspect of this farce. There were a thousand ways to keep everyone happy, and not one manager at any level figured it out.

Time for the Board to clean house. Your senior management team is a bunch of air-headed losers: You are getting sued big time; you are creating bad publicity for the company; and you look like a bunch of fools who can't handle the most elementary workplace conflict resolution.

Maybe that's why your sales are sinking faster than the Lusitania.


What do you think?

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Great Depression Version 2.0

The only way you can identify a Depression is over time. Looking at small time-segments of the Great Depression reveals a series of "recessions" and upticks. It is only by looking at the entire time span of 1929 to 1940 that you can label it a Depression.

We are now approaching a time frame to quit lying to ourselves about this being "The Great Recession" - that we are theoretically out of - and admit this is The Great Depression Version 2.0.

While it's true corporations are showing great profits, and the criminals on Wall Street and the banksters are raking in fantastic bonuses - it is also true that those outside that bubble are going down in flames. In the words of WalMart's CEO, "Our core customers are running out of money."

Those "core customers" are the bulk of America's consumers. And they are the ones that drive 70% of the American economy. If you want a vibrant economy, you better make sure they have money in their pockets.

But they don't. And the reason why is because those who can control prices - oil comes to mind as one category - are doing so without a single care about destroying their own consumer base. Was there really anyone out there who didn't expect to see things collapse when gas hit $4.00 per gallon?

But the Wahhabi rulers of Saudi Arabia need $7,000 annually per subject to buy their support and stay in power. So we see that going under $80 a barrel is not going to happen irrespective of supply and demand. Every oil producing country is in a similar situation - they must keep oil priced high and independent of actual market forces to stay afloat.

The answer is what none of the people on Wall Street want to hear: You've got to quit sending US dollars out to other countries and start dropping that money into the hands of Americans. That means out of Libya, out of Yemen, "No," we aren't going to bail out Greece . . . you know the list.

And you've got to stop allowing the immigration situation to continue to fester with what amounts to a near-open border with Mexico. The money no longer exists to continue to feed the welfare system so many of them use.

What happens when you make that cut? Well, I don't think you're going to see peaceful soup lines forming in Harlem. The reality is that our welfare system was designed in the mid-60s to buy domestic peace by supporting the lowest economic category - and thus keep that category from burning down the cities.

So here we are - The Great Depression Version 2.0. Only this time there won't be a peaceful acceptance of a collapse of the economy.

So banksters, Wall Street criminals, all of the rest who have destroyed our economy for their personal enrichment - there will soon be a day when you will be terrified to walk down Fifth Avenue because of wilding gangs striking in an instant and disappearing into the night. There will be no sympathy for you. People will pass your lifeless body and say they are glad to see you dead.

Yes, welcome to The Great Depression Version 2.0.