American Airlines Settles Religious Garb Claim

September 6, 2002 ( - American Airlines has settled a suit brought by a Muslim woman denied a job because she wanted to wear a religious headscarf at work.

The air carrier agreed Tuesday to pay $ 60,000 to settle the suit, which had been filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of the woman, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The woman applied for a job as a passenger service agent in 1998 and wanted to wear a hijab, an Islamic head covering, on duty. At the time, the airline’s policy barred uniformed employees who dealt with customers from wearing religious attire or religious jewelry.

According to the report, American offered the woman a nonuniformed job, but she declined the position.  Subsequently, the EEOC accused American of religious discrimination.

In 1999, American enacted a policy that allowed hijabs, crucifixes, yarmulkes, and other religious clothing and items for employees who work with customers. The policy also established prayer rooms for employees and allowed time off for prayer obligations.

Despite signing off on the settlement, American officials denied the discrimination allegations, according to the report.  However, as part of the settlement, American agreed to examine its records to see if any other people were denied jobs because of religious attire.

No similar complaints have been brought against the airline by the EEOC.