Supreme Court Declines To Set New Standard For Workplace Religious Accommodations

Vincent Jackson
Vincent Jackson
04/07/2021
This past Monday, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Small v. Memphis Light, Gas & Water, Docket No. 19-1388, and by doing so batted back a challenge to the longstanding precedent regarding employers’ duties to accommodate religious practices of employees.  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires accommodation of employees’ religious practices whenever doing so would not cause an “undue hardship.”  In 1977, the Supreme...
read more

EEOC Issues Updated Guidance On Religious Discrimination

Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a new update to its 2008 guidance on religious discrimination in the workplace.  Recognizing the "altered legal landscape" that has transpired in the last 12 years, the agency issued a modernized version of its guidance that covers employer obligations and employee rights.  Specifically, the guidance addresses: Coverage, including when a particular religious practice or...
read more

EEOC Sues Kroger For Failure to Accommodate Religious Objectors to Rainbow Logo

We've heard a lot about LGBTQ issues in the workplace this year, including the Supreme Court's landmark June ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County.  However, a  September 14, 2020 lawsuit filed by the EEOC against Kroger in Arkansas raises a different workplace issue relating to the LGBTQ community: does an employer have to accommodate the religious beliefs of employees who believe LGBTQ practices violate their sincerely held religious...
read more

Hostile Work Environment Claims Not Barred By Ministerial Exemption

On August 31st, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled  a minister’s hostile work environment discrimination claim is not barred by Title VII's ministerial exemption.  The court's 2-1 decision in Demkovich v. St. Andrew the Apostle Parish joined the Ninth Circuit in finding that a hostile work environment is not a permissible means of exerting constitutionally protected control over a ministerial employee.  In 2012, St. Andrew...
read more

Employee’s Medical Leave Can Be An Adverse Employment Action If Caused By Discriminatory Comments

A recent case out of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois demonstrates how a supervisor’s repeated derogatory comments about an employee’s Middle Eastern background and religion that forced her to take medical leave became a triable discrimination claim.  Odisho v. U.S. Bancorp, Inc., No. 16 C 11121 (N.D. Ill. 7/24/19). Juliet Odisho worked as a Structured Finance Analyst for US Bank (“Bank”) where she reported...
read more

Employee Grooming Standards: Ensuring Your Policy Complies With Title VII

Last week, as many readers are likely aware, a high school wrestling referee in New Jersey ordered an African American student wrestler tocut his dreadlocksimmediately prior to a match, or else forfeit the match.  According to the referee, the dreadlocks and head covering the wrestler offered to wear violated the league’s rules.  A video of the controversial haircut hit the internet, quickly inciting responses from many people that the...
read more

Employment Law Test, Question Two.

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
09/13/2018
Ok, class, today’s quiz involves religious discrimination.  There’s been a lot of discussion in the news lately about when it is acceptable to act on your religious beliefs regardless of how your actions affect the interests of others.  This becomes a bit tricky when employment discrimination law says you cannot treat people differently, but then someone claims that their religious views require it. For example, “my religion doesn’t permit...
read more

Louisiana Judge Holds That Jewish Heritage Can Be Basis For Race Discrimination Claim

Recently, a federal magistrate judge in Louisiana denied a motion to dismiss in a case in which the defendant is alleged to have refused to hire a football coach because of his “Jewish blood.”  Bonadona v. Louisiana College (W.D. La. July 13, 2018). The case involves Joshua Bonadona, the son of a Jewish mother and a Catholic father. Though Bonadona was raised in the Jewish religion, he converted to Christianity while attending Louisiana College...
read more

Mark of the Beast

How does an employer comply with a statutory requirement that an employee says conflicts with a sincerely held religious belief?  This issue has come up when an employee is fired after refusing to produce a social security number for religious reasons.  Courts considering religious discrimination claims in this context have uniformly held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”) does not require an employer to accommodate an...
read more

Fourth Circuit Affirms Finding that Coal Mine Failed to Accommodate Fears of "Mark of the Beast"

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
06/14/2017
The balance between individual religious beliefs and technology in the workforce can be a tricky one to strike.  The Fourth Circuit recently addressed potential ramifications of failing to strike that balance appropriately in its decision in EEOC v. Consol Energy, Inc. No. 16-1406 (4th Cir. June 12, 2017). Beverly Butcher worked as a coal miner at the Robinson Run Mine in West Virginia for 37 years with no record of performance issues.  Butcher...
read more
Email Updates

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Loading