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...
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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...
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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...
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And You knew it was Porn, How?

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
12/29/2016
Religious workplace accommodations are most times not so difficult to accomplish.  An employee needs a quiet place to pray at work.  No problem.  Another worker wants to change his work day by one hour on Friday during the winter months so he can make it home by sun down.  That’s doable.  The rule under Title VII is that an employer must make a reasonable accommodation to permit an employee to observe the tenets of his or her religious...
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Moral and Ethical Opposition to Flu Vaccine Not a Religious Belief

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
08/17/2016
Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for religious beliefs and practices.  Protection covers not only religious beliefs that are traditionally associated with some organized religion, but beliefs that may be new, uncommon, or not even part of an organized church or sect. Courts sometimes are required to sort out whether a particular belief is “religious.”  For...
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EEOC Provides Guidance Regarding Muslim and Middle Eastern Employees

On the heels of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang recently issued a statement to “Address Workplace Discrimination Against Individuals Who Are, or Are Perceived to Be, Muslim or Middle Eastern.” Along with the statement, the EEOC released two “resource documents” to provide guidance to employees and employers on how to handle workplace situations involving discrimination against individuals...
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Name Calling, Prayer Circle, and Social Shunning Help Revive Discrimination Claims

Reversing a decision it described as “replete with error,” the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has revived an employee’s claims of retaliation, and religion- and national origin-based hostile work environment.  Huri v. Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Cir. Ct. of Cook Cnty., No. 12-2217 (7th Cir. Oct. 21, 2015). Fozyia Huri, a Muslim from Saudi Arabia, began working for the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois in 2000.  Huri...
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Federal Court Permits Perceived Religion Claim To Proceed

Reasoning that discrimination based on an employer’s perception of an employee’s religion is no different than discrimination because of an employee’s actual religion, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan recently permitted an employee’s perceived religion discrimination claims to proceed to trial. Kallabat v. Michigan Bell Tel. Co., No. 2:2012-cv-15470 (E.D. Mich. June 18, 2015). Basil Kallabat began working...
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SUPREME COURT HOLDS WEARING OF RELIGIOUS SCARVES IS REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION

Abercrombie & Fitch maintains a dress code for employees known as its Look Policy. Headwear is not allowed under the policy because it is “too informal for Abercrombie’s desired image.” Samantha Elauf, a practicing Muslim who wears a headscarf, interviewed for an available position for which she was found to be qualified. Still, Elauf was not hired because the District Manager, who was told by another manager that she thought Elauf’s...
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Supreme Court Will Decide Head Scarf Case

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether Abercrombrie & Fitch's refusal to hire a Muslim job applicant who wore a religious head scarf to a job interview violated Title VII.  EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., U.S., No. 14-86, 10/2/14. The case arose after a 17 year old applicant wore a hijab - a religious head scarf - to an interview for a position in Abercrombie's Tulsa, Oklahoma store. During the interview, the...
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