Archives: Religious Discrimination

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Healthcare Worker’s Vaccine Refusal Not Immunized by Americans with Disabilities Act (US)

On December 7, 2018, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit unanimously held in Hustvet v. Allina Health System that an employer did not unlawfully terminate an employee who refused to receive a rubella vaccination.  The plaintiff, a healthcare specialist working with potentially vulnerable patients, requested an accommodation exempting … Continue Reading

Snooping Employee Dooms Her Title VII Claims By Unauthorized Disclosure of Personnel Files (US)

On November 15, 2018, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously held in Netter v. Barnes that an employee did not engage in “opposition or participation” activity protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when she reviewed and duplicated confidential personnel files without authorization.  … Continue Reading

Managing Political Speech In The Workplace

In the current political environment, employers and employees alike may be wondering – what, if any, political conversation in the workplace is acceptable or appropriate?  Tones of “freedom of speech,” “freedom of association,” on one hand, intersect with tenors of “workplace harassment” or simple annoyance, on the other.  Although like the political debates themselves, the … Continue Reading

Extended Comment Period Gives Employers More Time to Weigh In On EEOC’s Proposed Guidelines On Unlawful Harassment

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has provided additional time for public comment on its recently-issued proposed guidelines on unlawful harassment.  The 75-page draft, which issued on January 9, 2017, expands upon existing interpretations of many aspects of workplace harassment, including prohibited bases for harassment, conduct constituting illegal harassment, the role of social media, … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Long-Awaited Retaliation Guidance

On August 29, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final “Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues,” which replaced the Agency’s nearly-20-year-old 1998 Compliance Manual, Section 8: Retaliation.  As the title clearly implies, the guidance primarily sets forth the Agency’s evolving interpretations of the law of retaliation.  It also focuses on the … Continue Reading

Threshold for a protected belief under the Equality Act reaches a new low

Does really just anything count as a philosophical belief these days?  An impression you could reasonably take away from the headlines in the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision in Harron –v- Chief Constable of Dorset Police last week but happily not one completely borne out by closer reading. Mr Harron considered himself to have been discriminated … Continue Reading

“It was great” and other things not to say in support of your harassment claim

Mbuyi –v- Newpark Childcare is an everyday tale of Christianity meeting homosexuality and sparks ensuing, not in a good way.  Put very simply (there was a little more to it, including the glorious non-sequitur “X had replied with a positive comment, given that the Claimant is from Belgium”), a lesbian employee asked an Evangelical Christian … Continue Reading

Actual Knowledge of Need For Religious Accommodation Not Required, Supreme Court Rules

In a decision issued on June 1 [pdf], the U.S. Supreme Court held that a job applicant alleging disparate treatment by a hiring employer only must show “that his need for an accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision,” and not that the employer had actual knowledge of the applicant’s need for a … Continue Reading

Offensive tattoos in the UK workplace? Come on, be reasonable

I am quite confident that a great many of us have considered the possibility of getting a tattoo.  It may have been during the heady days of youth and only a fleeting fantasy, but a consideration nonetheless.  I will freely admit toying with the idea right up to the moment I realised that ‘inking’ myself … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules EEOC Conciliation Efforts Are Subject to Oversight

On April 29, the US Supreme Court held unanimously that courts may review the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) efforts to informally resolve disputes between employers and employees. The EEOC, which is charged with policing compliance with employment discrimination laws, is required by statute to first try informal mediation methods to resolve disputes between employers … Continue Reading

California court says Sun Worshipping Atheist can be required to work overtime, even if it means getting less than 8 hours of sleep

Marshel Copple is a “Sun Worshipping Atheist” – a religion he created and of which he is the sole member.  The core principles of Sun Worshipping Atheism, according to Mr. Copple, include: praying in the sun; taking natural fresh air daily; sleeping eight hours or more; eating and drinking when needed; frequent exercise; daily rest; … Continue Reading

EEOC Charge Filing in 2014: Number of Charges Down, Retaliation Claims Up

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released its annual statistical report  detailing charge filing activity in 2014.  The EEOC, the federal administrative agency which investigates and prosecutes claims of employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation under a number of employment and civil rights statutes, reported 88,778 charges filed in 2014, down from 93,727 charges filed … Continue Reading

Church –v- State in Polish pregnancy dismissal claim

In November in Poland the story of a dismissed Religious Studies teacher hit the news. What made this story of interest?    The Polish State requires schools to run Religious Studies (RS) classes. The teaching syllabus and text books are decided by the Church authorities and RS teachers must be issued a license (missio canonica) by … Continue Reading

Weather man causes storm through religious views – prospects unsettled, heading south, decreasing

Now let us suppose that it is your genuine belief that the British weather is dictated not as we had supposed, by physics, global warming and meteorology, but by the extent of the Government’s adherence to the Christian Gospel.  That is your belief and one you are fully entitled to hold.  The question for your … Continue Reading

Can’t sell alcohol? You’re not the only one…

With the excesses of the Festive Season now depressingly far behind us, M&S bosses may be wondering whether public memories have begun to fade about the outcry that arose following the store’s initial decision (and then swift apology) to allow Muslim shop assistants to refuse to serve pork and alcohol to customers. Certainly, in the … Continue Reading

Trouble bubbles after Muslim worker refuses to sell champagne at M&S – the law

It was reported in the UK press just before Christmas that Marks and Spencer was forced to apologise to a customer after a Muslim employee refused to handle alcohol and so declined, politely and apologetically, to serve a customer trying to buy a bottle of champagne. This issue caused a bit of a Twitter storm, … Continue Reading

“The three most important things a man has”, said writer Samuel Butler, “are his private parts, his money and his religious opinions”

In the world of work in the UK there have been many decided cases and much official guidance to employers to the collective effect that if they respect the third of Mr Butler’s list, the Employment Tribunal will let them keep the other two.  So why the uproar around Marks & Spencer last week, given … Continue Reading
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