Quick! Name three people with dreadlocks.
Of the three, how many practice the Rastafarian religion?
How the hell does this relate to employment law..let alone a security job? Find out after the jump…
Well, I’m pretty sure Bob Marley does. He sings about it in Buffalo Soldier.
But the other two, I don’t remember either of them sharing their
Rastafarian beliefs when I went to see them at the movies — I do
remember a lot of drugs and violence, but let’s save that for another
But let’s suppose Drexl Spivey told me that he practices the Rastafarian
religion, I could not use that against them during a job interview. At
least, that’s what the Seventh Circuit held recently in Xodus v. Wackenhut Corp..
In Xodus, a hiring manager for a security company informed a job
applicant with dreadlocks that he must cut his hair in order to be
eligible for an open security position. The applicant, a Rastafarian
with long dreadlocks told the hiring manager that cutting his hair was
against his “belief.” The applicant, however, did not specifically
mention his religion.
According the Seventh Circuit, where an employee never brings his religion — as opposed to his beliefs — to the attention of a hiring manager who interviews him, the employer is under no obligation to accommodate those religious beliefs.
Case dismissed. Employer wins.
Two other takeaways from this case for PA, NJ, and DE employers:
- An employer may not refuse to hire an applicant simply because the does not share the employer’s religious beliefs.
- An employer may not exclude an applicant from hire merely because he may need a reasonable accommodation that could be provided absent undue hardship.