Showing posts with label religious discrimination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religious discrimination. Show all posts

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Coronavirus Update 8-19-2021: The (Un)Healthy American, along with other more reputable organizations, help Americans dodge vaccine mandates


Meet Peggy Hall. She runs a website called The Healthy American

What is The Healthy American? For starters, it's a website that NewsGuard ranks 22.5/100 (a failing grade no matter how you slice it), for, among other sins and errors, publishing false and irresponsible misinformation about the Covid vaccine. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Coronavirus Update 8–10–2021: Vaccines and religions accommodation requests


"I need an accommodation for your mandatory vaccination policy. The vaccine is against my religion."

As more employers roll out vaccine mandates, more will be faced with this exact scenario.

Title VII requires an employer to reasonably accommodate an employee's sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances, as long as the accommodation does not impose an undue hardship. 

Two, and only two, religions, however, actually support people not getting vaccinated as a tenet of the religion — Christian Scientists and the Dutch Reformed Church. There are an estimated 106,000 Christian Scientists in the United States, and 194,000 members of the Reformed Church. That's a tidy total of 300,000 potential religious objectors based on their religion's actual teachings, period (or only 0.25% of all employees). But that minuscule number does not end the inquiry.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Religious accommodations shouldn’t flummox employers, yet they still do


I've shared this story before, but it's worth re-sharing because (a) it's been a few years and I have many new readers, (b) it's really good, and (c) because it's super relevant to today's lesson.

I spent a high-school summer working on a warehouse loading dock. One of my co-workers was named Harland Jester. (I provide his name because he named his son "Court," and this context provides the necessary color for the rest of the story.)

Four days into my summer job, a co-worker pulled me aside and asked, "Did Harland get a hold of you yet?"

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Title VII and “fringe" religions


"A pagan says she faced religious discrimination while working at Panera. Now, she’s suing." So reads the headline at the Washington Post. The plaintiff claims that after she told an assistant manager that she was pagan, her hours were cut and she was told they wouldn't be restored until she "found God" (in addition to other alleged workplace harassment). 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

“Religious freedom” ≠ freedom to discriminate (but sometimes it must be accommodated anyway)


The EEOC has sued an Arkansas Kroger after it fired two of its employees for allegedly objecting to its new dress code that required employees to wear an apron that contained rainbow-colored heart insignia. 

According to the EEOC, the women believed the insignia endorsed LGBTQ values, which contradicted their personal religious beliefs. As an accommodation, one offered to cover the insignia and the other offered to wear a different apron without it. The EEOC says that Kroger refused their accommodation requests, disciplined them, and ultimately fired them.  

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Does Title VII protect “veganism” as a religion?


A judge in the United Kingdom has ruled that “ethical veganism” is a protected class akin to religion and is protected from workplace discrimination. The Washington Post shares the details:

An employment tribunal made that landmark determination in a case involving a man who claimed he was fired from his job at an animal rights organization for revealing to colleagues that their pension funds were invested in companies that experiment on animals. The tribunal has yet to rule on the merits of the case, but it did on Friday take the step of deciding that the man’s ethical veganism constitutes a “philosophical and religious belief” protected by anti-discrimination law.

That’s the United Kingdom. What about the United States? Well, it depends.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

“Hairstyle discrimination” laws: a solution in search of a problem


I fully embrace the irony of a local news broadcast holding me out as the expert on hair discrimination. 👨🏻‍🦲

Irony notwithstanding, here I am on last night’s 6 o’clock news discussing why we don’t need to ban workplace hairstyle discrimination. (Big thank you to WEWS’s Mike Brookbank for reaching out and for the interview.)


Thursday, August 1, 2019

When an employee’s religion clashes with an employer’s dress code


A Muslim woman is suing the hospital at which she works as medical assistant, claiming she was told she needed a “note from the Quran” when she asked for an exception to the hospital’s dress code to wear a face covering during Ramadan.

The case, Boyd v. Cooper University Hospital, is pending in federal court in New Jersey. While it’s just filed, and years from resolution, we can use it to learn how an employer should react when a employee dons religious garb in the workplace.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Proposed law wants to convert “anti-vaxxer” into a protected class


With a couple of important exceptions, an employer can require that employees be up to date on their vaccinations.

The exceptions?

     1/ An employee with an ADA disability that prevents him or her from receiving a vaccine may be entitled to an exemption from a mandatory vaccination requirement as a reasonable accommodation.

     2/ An employee with a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance that prevents him or her from receiving a vaccine may also be entitled to an exemption from a mandatory vaccination requirement as a reasonable accommodation.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

An expensive lesson on religious accommodations


A federal court jury in Miami has awarded a hotel dishwasher $21.5 million after concluding that her employer failed to honor her religious beliefs by repeatedly scheduling her on Sundays, and then firing her.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

When you employ a Satanist #HappyHalloween



Rosemary's Baby, the classic 1968 horror film, tells the story of a pregnant woman who (spoiler alert: correctly) assumes that a satanic cult wants her baby. What does Rosemary's Baby have to do with employment law?

In honor of Halloween, I bring you the story of Irving Cortez-Hernandez, a "Catholic-Satanist" who prayed to the Devil for his pregnant co-worker to miscarry, and as a result lost both his job and his religious discrimination lawsuit.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Anti-Semitism at work


The devastating events of this past weekend served as a sobering reminder that anti-Semitism not only still exists, but it's thriving.

The reality is that anti-Semitism never went away. It has always been there, bubbling under the surface. The current climate in our country, however, has given it permission to boil over.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

"I'm going to need every Saturday off; is that gonna be a problem?"


Darrell Patterson had worked in Walgreens' 24/7 call center for six years without incident. He claims Walgreens fired him for skipping an emergency training session held on a Saturday. He's a Seventh-day Adventist, and it's against his religion to work on the Sabbath (from sundown Friday through downs Saturday). Until his firing, they had worked cooperatively to schedule around this religious prohibitions, without incident.

Patterson's religion and Walgreens' scheduling came to a head in 2011, however, when Walgreens asked Patterson to cover an emergency Saturday training session. When he missed the training class, Walgreens fired him.

Monday, August 20, 2018

EEOC sues on behalf of harassed Catholic employee


Religion a funny thing. Throughout the history of mankind it's fueled so much hate, war, and death. And yet, it brings so much peace, comfort, and love to so many people.

My philosophy is live and let live. You believe what you want, and I'll believe what I want. Your religion is none of my business, just as mine is none of yours.

The world we be a better place is everyone lived this message. But not everyone does.

Monday, August 6, 2018

On religious liberty vs. workplace discrimination laws


Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of a "Religious Liberty Task Force" It will enforce a 2017 DOJ memo that ordered federal agencies to take the broadest possible interpretation of "religious liberty" when enforcing federal laws, including Title VII and other anti-discrimination laws.

According to Mr. Sessions, the task force as a necessary to "confront and defeat" secularism, "a dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom."

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

5.1 millions reason to keep religion out of your workplace


I’m thinking of starting a religion
“Onionhead” teaches people to direct their emotions in a truthful and compassionate way. It is central to the teachings of the Harnessing Happiness Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to emotional knowledge and intelligence, conflict resolution, and life handling skills.

Onionhead is also central to a religious discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC against United Health Programs of America and its parent, Cost Containment Group. The aunt of the defendants’ CEO is the creator of Onionhead.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tattoos at work: more acceptance, yet still some legal risk


By ABC TV [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
I am not a tattoo person. Yet, a whole lot of people are. And the numbers are increasing.

In fact, according to one recent survey, 3 in 10 Americans have at least one tattoo, up 50% in just four years. And, the younger you are, the more likely you are to sport a tattoo: 47% of millennials have a tattoo, as compared to 36% of gen Xers and only 13% of baby boomers.

Monday, February 12, 2018

What does it mean to be religious?


Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about religion. Or, rather, what it means to be religious.

I am not religious. Or at least not in the organized sense.

This does not mean that I am an atheist, or a pagan, or a heathen, or whatever other aspersion you’d like to cast upon me.

It just means that I do not believe I need a building and a structure upon which to ascribe my beliefs.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Accommodating employees should be a common sense issue


I spent a high-school summer working on a warehouse loading dock. One of my co-workers was named Harland Jester. (I provide his name because he named his son “Court,” and this context provides the necessary color for the rest of the story.)

Four days in to my summer job, a co-worker pulled me aside and ask, “Did Harland get a hold of you yet?”

“Uh, no. Why?”

“Just wait.”

Monday, July 24, 2017

Court rules that religious accommodation request is not protected activity for retaliation claim


A Minnesota federal court has ruled that an employee’s request for a religious accommodation did not qualify as protected activity to support the employee’s retaliation claim. EEOC v. North Memorial Health Care (D. Minn. 7/6/17) involves a hospital that withdrew a conditional job offer to a nurse after she disclosed that she was a Seventh Day Adventist and could not work Friday nights because of her religion.