Want to wear a Phillie Phanatic hat to work for religious reasons? That could get you fired in Minnesota.


Baseball as a religion? Remember what Annie Savoy from the great Bull Durham said:

“I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn’t work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology….I’ve tried ’em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.”

Before I go any further with this post, thanks to everyone who participated in yesterday’s single-question poll: If you could attend just one HR-compliance training, what would it be?

If you missed it, I’ll give a second chance today to take a few seconds to weigh in by clicking here.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, worshipping the Philly Phanatic.

Specifically, did you hear the one about the dude who took a drivers license photo while wearing a Phillie Phanatic hat? Why would he do that?

Because of religion, of course. 😉

Here’s more from Josh Ellis reporting here at CSNPhilly.com:

After an Arizona man won the right to express his religion and wear a spaghetti colander on his head in his driver’s license photo, one man, Anthony F., has done one better.

He got his photo taken in a Phillie Phanatic hat and posted it to Reddit.

Anthony, who now lives in San Diego, California, received the Phanatic hat from his dad, a Phillies’ season-ticket holder, and he decided to wear the hat for his driver’s license photo.

He indicated that in order to wear the hat, he had to write a statement that it was for religious purposes.

What if, as a religious accommodation, this fan(atic) asked his employer for permission to wear the hat at work?

In Philly, we’d be like

But, in Minnesota, that’s the kinda stuff that could get you fired with no recourse. Consider the recent decision in EEOC v. North Memorial Health Care (opinion here). Here’s the lawsuit, in a nutshell, from the EEOC:

According to EEOC’s lawsuit, North Memorial offered Emily Sure-Ondara a position as a registered nurse. Sure-Ondara, a Seventh-Day Adventist, then requested a schedule that accommodated her religious practices. North Memorial determined it would not grant the requested accommodation. Sure-Ondara told North Memorial that she was willing to work without the accommodation, but North Memorial withdrew her job offer anyway.

And here’s United States District Judge David S. Doty completely blowing up the EEOC spot. He dismissed the claim with prejudice because a request for a religious accommodation isn’t considered a protected activity:

Applying the plain language of the [Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964], the court concludes that requesting a religious accommodation is not a protected activity….[M]erely requesting a religious accommodation is not the same as opposing the allegedly unlawful denial of a religious accommodation. 

Of course, the outcome could have been different if, for example, the plaintiff communicated to her employer that she felt that the denial of her religious accommodation request was unlawful. Similarly, had the plaintiff filed a Charge with the EEOC after which the employer withdrew the job offer, then that could set up a viable claim.

Instead, the EEOC fared only slightly better than the Phillies have thus far this year.


“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”
Contact Information