Where is Samantha Elauf Now? – Elauf, who was 17 at the time, applied for a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch store in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2008. She wore a head scarf during her interview with the company, but she did not explain why. Heather Cooke, the woman who was interviewing her, was first impressed by Elauf, but was concerned about her head scarf. Cooke had told the store manager that she believed Elauf was wearing the scarf for religious reasons, but the manager responded that employees were not permitted to wear headgear at work; thus, she was not hired. In 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit on Elauf’s behalf against Abercrombie & Fitch. This resulted in a lawsuit in federal district court, where Elauf was awarded $20,000 in damages.
Samantha had no idea when she was turned down for a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch store in June 2008 that the matter would end up at the Supreme Court. ‘White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch,’ a Netflix documentary, goes into the company’s history and the numerous scandals that have surrounded it. It also includes an interview with Samantha, who filed a religious discrimination complaint against the corporation. So, if you’re curious about what transpired, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.
Must Read: Where is Ex-Abercrombie & Fitch CEO ‘Mike Jeffries’ Now?
Samantha Elauf, Who is She?
Samantha was just 17 years old when she applied for a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch children’s store. The store was in a mall in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she grew up. She attended the interview wearing a headscarf (a hijab, as part of her Muslim beliefs). While Samantha’s interviewer liked her and wanted to hire her, the district manager discovered about her headscarf and pushed for lower marks to make her appear unqualified.
Despite the fact that Abercrombie & Fitch has a dress code for their salespeople, Samantha believed her headscarf wouldn’t be an issue because they had previously recruited a Jewish employee who wore a yarmulke. Samantha, on the other hand, was taken aback when she learned that she had been passed over for the job because of her headscarf. The headscarf, according to the company, did not meet the dress code, which was “typical East Coast collegiate style.”
Samantha filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch in September 2009, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission representing her. While a jury awarded $20,000 in compensatory damages, the case was reversed on appeal in October 2013, based on the fact that Samantha never stated that she required religious accommodations and that the subject of religion was never brought up during the interview.
The case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which found in Samantha’s favour with an 8-1 majority in June 2015. According to Justice Antonin Scalia, Abercrombie & Fitch had a reasonable suspicion that Samantha wore the scarf for religious reasons. As a result, she was not hired because the corporation refused to accommodate her religious beliefs. “An employer may not use an applicant’s religious practise, whether confirmed or not, as a consideration in employment decisions,” he added.
What Happened to Samantha Elauf and Where Is She Now?
Abercrombie & Fitch ultimately paid Samantha over $20,000 in damages, plus court fees. She met President Barack Obama in June 2015, and the Woody Guthrie Center awarded her the Oklahoma Changing World Prize the following year. “When it happened, I was literally simply sticking up for what I believed was just and fair,” Samantha subsequently stated of the case. “I can’t believe I did that,” I think sometimes.
Samantha also discussed threats and personal insults she received via social media and email. “It’s not like they were exclusively attacking me,” she continued. They targeted my race, my views, and everything else. I’d be in such a bad mood.” Samantha stayed in the fashion industry after being turned down for a job at Abercrombie & Fitch.
She worked in management positions at Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters. She appears to be still residing in Oklahoma. Samantha is married and likes travelling with her husband, Sami, on a personal level.
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