Religious Discrimination

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EEOC Updates COVID-19 Guidance With Answers To More Return-To-Work Questions (US)

Throughout the current public health emergency, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been providing regular updates to its guidance on COVID-19 and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal employment statutes (see our prior posts here). On June 11, 2020, the EEOC provided answers to approximately 10 new questions, … Continue Reading

“I Am Not Wearing That!” – What Can An Employer Do When An Employee Refuses To Comply With COVID-19 Workplace Requirements? (US)

With the reopening process well underway in all 50 states, employers are implementing a variety of plans, policies, and protocols to minimize the potential for employee transmission of the coronavirus in the workplace. These plans – discussed in our Employer’s Guide to Return-to-Work Issues – include making physical changes to the workplace, rearranging employee schedules, … Continue Reading

Employer’s Guide to Return-to-Work Issues: COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (US)

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency has changed life as we know it, including by severely disrupting business on a nationwide scale.  In some cases, employers have been forced to temporarily close their doors and cease operations, while others have had to make radical changes to the workplace in order to maintain operations. … Continue Reading

EEOC Reminds Employers: Antidiscrimination Laws Continue to Apply During the COVID-19 Pandemic (US)

The United States currently is experiencing an unprecedented public health emergency due to the COVID-19 virus.  The economic fallout of this crisis has been sudden and brutal on US employers, with vast numbers of businesses ordered to close and nearly 1 million new unemployment claims filed in the past two weeks alone.  In response, Congress … Continue Reading

Vegetarianism – fussy eating or philosophical belief? (UK)

“Philosophical belief” for religious discrimination purposes has been found to include a number of not-remotely-religious views on matters as diverse as fox hunting, climate change and the higher purpose of public service broadcasting. You would have thought that adding vegetarianism to that list would be a walk-over. After all, it is commonly and genuinely practised, … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Eliminates Contractual Limitations Periods For Title VII Claims (US)

Our colleagues Colter Paulson and Justin DiCharia at the Sixth Circuit Appellate Blog (which covers, as you may have guessed, developments in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit) authored the post below discussing the Sixth Circuit’s recent decision in a case in which the Court was tasked with deciding whether an employer … Continue Reading

Australian Government releases Federal Religious Discrimination Bills – genuine consultation or playing politics?

On 29 August, Attorney General Christian Porter announced a package of draft Bills dealing with religious discrimination. They come in the wake of the termination of Israel Folau’s player contract by Rugby Australia for his social media posts vilifying homosexuals and others, although the issue has actually been simmering away on the Government’s agenda for … Continue Reading

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
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