Sears Headscarf Dispute Goes to EEOC

January 24, 2002 ( - A Muslim woman, claiming she was rejected for a job in the jewelry department of a Georgia Sears store because of her religiously-mandated headscarf, has taken her dispute to federal anti-discrimination officials.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamic advocacy group, filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) on the woman’s behalf after what CAIR claimed were “lengthy and unproductive” negotiations with Sears’ representatives.

According to the CAIR complaint, the woman had worked for Sears for five years before applying for a transfer position and being interviewed by a manager in the jewelry department.

The manager told the woman the job was still open, but that she wasn’t eligible because of Sears’ policy banning employees from donning head coverings while at work. CAIR said.

CAIR claimed that the woman turned to store managers for clarification and that they likewise told her about the head-covering prohibition.