Articles Posted in Religion

Remember that blog post I had from July of last year, the one you contemplated getting tattooed on your back.

Yeah, you know the one. This one, silly. About the Fundamentalist Christian, who, upon filling out his new-employee paperwork, refused to provide a social security number because it would cause him to have the “Mark of the Beast.” So, he sought a religious accommodation, which the company refused to provide because obtaining a social security number is a federal requirement.

Welp, the employee appealed the decision to a federal appellate court?

How you think that turned out? Find out after the jump…

* * *

Continue reading

Maybe you’ve heard about it. I’m giving a little spiel today on social media in the workplace with a few friends at an event in Philadelphia. If I play my cards right, I’ll do as little speaking as possible on the dais.

Which means I’ll get my two cents in after the jump and discuss on a hockey coach who was recently fired for posting pictures of Nazi propaganda on Facebook.

* * *

Continue reading

Have you noticed a theme here at the blog this week?

I mean, other than the crappy posts.

Well, that and the crotch grabbing.

It’s been all about religious discrimination. Good ahead, scroll down the page, there they are.

And yesterday, the Supreme Court announced that it is going to decide EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., a case involving an employee who wore a headscarf (or “hijab”) to work for religious reasons, but was told to remove because it conflicted with Abercrombie’s clothing policy. The lower court granted summary judgment to the EEOC. The Tenth Circuit reversed and granted summary judgment for Abercrombie, concluding that the employee never informed Abercrombie that she needed a religious accommodation to wear the hijab at work.

Now, the Supreme Court will have to decide whether an employer can be liable under Title VII for refusing to hire an applicant or discharging an employee based on a “religious observance and practice” only if the employer has actual knowledge that a religious accommodation was required and the employer’s actual knowledge resulted from direct, explicit notice from the applicant or employee.

Prediction: Abercrombie wins. I can’t see how a majority of the Court concludes that anything less than actual notice of a particular individual’s sincerely-held beliefs would create a duty to accommodate them.

Remember yesterday, when I was talking about religious accommodations, I said, “Treat all religions equally.”

That same rule applies to  casting out the evil devil of religious discrimination generally. Church!

After the jump, from my bloggerdome pulpit, I’m preaching my religion: employment law. All ye harassers, there is still time to repent! I will bring workplace salvation.

*** dodges lightning strike ***

* * *

Continue reading

After scoring a touchdown on Monday night, Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah dropped to his knees and prayed.

Kinda like this.

As Kevin Draper at Deadspin.com reports (here), a tweet from Abdullah’s brother further confirmed that the player’s post-TD celebration was a Muslim prayer.

Except the referees responded with a 15-yard penalty to the Chiefs for excessive celebration, for which the NFL later later accepted blame.

Oops.

What can employers learn from the NFL’s mistake? A few lessons on accommodating prayer in the workplace after the jump…

* * *

Continue reading

Ok, technically, he was a “parking services officer.” But, he was working in a police department. And when you work in a police department as an officer, the odds are that you’ll need some weapons training.

Well, cue the jump where we learn whether a police department has to accommodate the religious beliefs of a Jehovah’s Witness who refuses weapons training….

* * *

Continue reading

unocards.JPGWhy, just the other night, I playing my 5-year-old son in a friendly game of Uno.

Well, it was friendly-ish in a cutthroat sorta way. At least, that’s what the look on his tear-stained face suggested to me when I mouthed “Uno,” shimmied, and spiked my final card to win my fourth game in a row.

Now, some would say that I took it a bit too far when I collected his tears, and then painted them on my face to mock his crying. 

But those people are soft.

In Uno, I talk the talk and walk the walk.

The same could be said for employment-law webinars. And it’s not that I view “Hair, Holidays and Hijabs: Religious Discrimination in the Workplace,” a webinar that I am co-presenting for BNA today at 2:00 PM EDT, as a competition.¬†

But, I’m going to really need to raise my game today carry my weight with my co-presenter.

Oh you didn’t know? I have the honor and privilege of co-presenting on religious discrimination with P. David Lopez, EEOC General Counsel.

Not to worry though; I have a few aces up my sleeve — provided that I remember to wear sleeves, which has been a struggle recently.

But seriously, you could a lot worse than David and me for 90 minutes on a really hot workplace issue like religious discrimination and accommodations. There is still time to register (

I’ll save the “Five Workplace Lessons From LeBron James’s Return to Cleveland” post for the other bloggers.

Here’s one — one which I guarantee you don’t find anywhere else:

If during his time in Miami, LeBron James became a Fundamentalist Christian, and, upon filling out his new-employee paperwork with the Cleveland Cavaliers, refused to provide a social security number because it would cause him to have the “Mark of the Beast,” the Cavaliers would not have to provide him with a religious accommodation.

You see, folks, to maintain a claim for religious discrimination, an employee must show, among other things, that his bona fide religious belief conflicts with an employment requirement. Assuming that LeBron’s religious belief is bona fide, according to this recent Ohio federal court decision it does not conflict with an employment requirement. Indeed, the IRS requires that employees provide a social security number. So, it’s a government requirement, not an employer requirement.

In which case, the Cavs can just cut LeBron.

And speaking of beastmode, this may be a good time to alert you that ABA Journal has opened nominations for the 2014 Blawg 100 Amici, its list of the top 100 law blogs in the country. Last year, y’all came through big time!

If you’d like to nominate this blog again in 2014, you can do so here.

Image Credit: CaringMerryKouprey on gfycat.com

HobbyLobbyStowOhio.JPG

Mid-morning yesterday, the Internet broke shortly after the Supreme Court issued its 5-4 decision in HHS v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc..

Jeez, I’m still cleaning out my Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook feeds.

In case your wifi, 4G, 3G, dial-up, TV, radio, and other electronics picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue, the long and short of yesterday’s Supreme Court decision is this: Smaller, closely-held (think: family-owned) companies don’t have to provide Obamacare access to birth control if doing so would conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs.

So, how does yesterday’s decision affect your workplace? I promised you three ways, and here they are:

  1. The court’s opinion creates an Obamacare exception for closely-held business. If your company isn’t closely held, then there’s nothing to see here.
  2. The Hobby Lobby decision does not allow employers (closely-held or otherwise) to discriminate against employees under the guise of a religious practice. In the dissent, Justice Ginsburg pondered, “Suppose an employer’s sincerely held religious belief is offended by health coverage of vaccines, or paying the minimum wage or according women equal pay for substantially similar work. Does it rank as a less restrictive alternative to require the government to provide the money or benefit to which the employer has a religion-based objection?” Well, no. The majority recognized that “the Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the work force without regard to [a protected class], and prohibitions on [discrimination] are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.”
  3. The Court’s opinion is a good reminder about religious accommodations in the workplace. Title VII requires covered employers to make reasonable accommodations for a worker’s sincerely-held religious beliefs unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on business operations. The “sincerity” of an employee’s stated religious belief is usually not in dispute. (More on that here). And, in these situations, an employer should not judge the employee’s religious belief to determine whether it is plausible. Rather, the focus should usually be on whether the accommodation would impose an undue hardship — because the burden there is rather low.

Image Credit: “HobbyLobbyStowOhio” by DangApricot – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons