The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against American Eagle Outfitters on Thursday alleging that the company violated its right to freedom of association when it prohibited employees from wearing sneakers at work.
The suit also seeks to stop the retailer from discriminating against employees based on the color of their shoes.
The ACLU filed the suit in California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking a preliminary injunction that would bar the company from imposing a dress code on employees at all levels.
In its complaint, the ACLU says the dress code violated the company’s First Amendment rights and could be enforced against employees for any reason, including, but not limited to, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
The suit says the policy violates the National Labor Relations Act and is void for vagueness because it does not specifically prohibit dress codes.
American Eagle Outletters, a subsidiary of the world’s largest retailer, said it had no comment on the suit.
The lawsuit comes after the Civil Rights Division of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a complaint against American Eagles in January.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction that could compel the retailer to reinstate the dress-code policy and to require all its retailers to adopt similar policies.