When The U.S. Supreme Court struck down an October 2013 appellate decision that blocked an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission case brought over Abercrombie's refusal to hire Samantha Elauf, it closed a potential legal loophole created by the Tenth Circuit that some employers may have seen as an opportunity to plead ignorance in religious accommodation cases, lawyers said.

The October 2013 appellate decision blocked an EEOC case brought over Abercrombie's refusal to hire Ms. Elauf. When she applied for a job in 2008, she wore a hijab to the job interview but never brought up her Muslim faith or asked for an exemption from a prohibition against “caps” in the company’s dress policy.

Abercrombie had argued in a January Supreme Court brief that without “actual knowledge” of a conflict between an employer's requirements and an applicant or employee's religion, the employer can't be held liable for failing to provide an accommodation under Title VII.

According to Lucretia Clemons, a Ballard Spahr LLP partner, the Tenth Circuit's approach “wasn't a workable solution.”

Of Monday’s Supreme Court ruling, Ms. Clemons said: “I don't see it as worrisome because I think the decision was very much expected, and it goes along with how many employers already deal with these sorts of issues.”

“Clarity, like it or not, is a good thing when you're dealing with employee-employer relations,” she said of the Abercrombie decision.

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