WASHINGTON – Today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Muslim woman, Samantha Elauf, seeking an exemption to a store’s uniform policy in the case EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. The majority in the court held that the store was still liable for its disparate treatment of a member of religious community even if it did not have explicit knowledge of an individual’s need for a religious exemption. Interfaith Alliance joined a broad spectrum of religious organizations in an amicus brief in support of Ms. Elauf. Following today’s decision, Rabbi Jack Moline, Interfaith Alliance’s executive director, released this statement:
“The Supreme Court took a measured and principled stand for religious freedom today. Our national commitment to religious freedom and religious pluralism depends on granting reasonable accommodations for people’s religious practices in workplaces, schools, and public institutions. And, in an increasingly diverse America, it cannot always be the burden of religious minorities to explain their faith to others. This decision ensures an easier path to equality in workplaces across America for people of all faiths.
“I have no doubt that there will be some who seek to use this decision as a springboard for further attempts to use faulty claims of religious freedom to broadly justify discrimination and the denial of services and benefits on the basis of religious identity. Let me be clear: the type of narrow, reasonable exemption reaffirmed in EEOC v. Abercrombie – an exemption which protects the rights of an employee, while having no bearing on the rights of others – is exactly what both the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act imagined. It stands in direct opposition to the broad-based religious discrimination legitimated last year in Hobby Lobby, and forced through state legislatures across the country.”
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.