Scarf Ruling Means More Job-Bias Training for U.S. Bosses

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June 1, 2015

The scarf ruling not only supported religious freedom in hiring but also gender equity, said Penny Venetis, executive vice president and legal director of Legal Momentum, the New York-based nonprofit that advocates the legal rights of women.

“Even though this ruling was about religious freedom, it was also against gender discrimination and stereotypical thinking about beauty in hiring decisions,” Venetis said.

The case is reminiscent of lawsuits filed by female flight attendants in the 1970s and 1980s who challenged dress codes imposed on them by airlines that mandated wearing short skirts and revealing clothing -- and won in court, she said.

“Dress codes can be a license to discriminate about people” and especially women, Venetis said.