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Statement of P. David Lopez, EEOC General Counsel, on EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc.

WASHINGTON-P. David Lopez, General Counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), made the following statement at the conclusion of the Supreme Court argument in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., a case involving religious accommodation.

This year we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, established as part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Title VII prohibits discrimination because of race, color, sex, national origin, and religion.  The prohibition against religious discrimination reflects this country's historical tradition of religious freedom and religious tolerance. Since that time, the Commission has led the effort to enforce laws that prohibit religious discrimination for persons of all faiths. Today's case is the latest effort to ensure all persons protected by  Title VII are not placed in the difficult position of choosing between adherence to one's faith and a job. 

Finally, I would be remiss not to recognize the courage and tenacity of Samantha Elauf.   Regardless of the outcome of this case, her effort to stand up for the important principles at issue is an inspiration.  Samantha now has a brief prepared statement that will be read by Christine Saah Nazer, EEOC spokesperson.