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...read more
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...read more
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...read more
Vickie Fisher was employed as the Co-Director of Gate of Heaven Cemetery, a Catholic cemetery owned and operated by Archdiocese of Cincinnati. In fall 2010, a cemetery employee complained to the Archdiocese that Fisher and her compatriot were part of a scheme to sell damaged grave markers for scrap metal and distribute the cash proceeds to Gate of Heaven employees. It was also alleged Fisher was using profanity in her dealings with employees. ...read more
The EEOC recently published new technical assistance explaining its view of how federal employment discrimination law, specifically Title VII, applies to religious dress and grooming standards. Employers may encounter many types of religious dress and grooming practices according to the EEOC, including: (a) wearing religious clothing or articles (e.g., a Muslim hijab, a Sikh turban, or a Christian cross); (b) observing a prohibition on wearing...read more
Business trips are a fact of life for many employees. Reserving hotel rooms for these trips is commonplace: either the employee or a company representative contacts the hotel, and the hotel then arranges a room for that guest based on its current availability. In spite of this, a disgruntled individual recently tried to sue his former company based on little more than the room he was assigned during one such trip in Rahman v. Crystal Equation,...read more
The Fourth Circuit recently affirmed that a reasonable accommodation of an employee’s religious beliefs is not required if such accommodation would cause an undue hardship. That is, an accommodation is not necessary if it would result in more than a de minimis cost to the employer. EEOC v. Thompson Contracting, Grading, Paving, & Utils. Inc., No. 11-11897 (4th Cir. Dec. 14, 2012) (unpublished). Banayah Yisrael worked for Thompson...read more
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