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BuzzFeed Politics: “In the March 31 decision, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that Peter TerVeer’s case against the Library of Congress can move forward. TerVeer sued the Library of Congress under Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination, claiming that he faced discrimination after his boss found out that he was gay.”
Kokomo Tribune (AP): “A woman who claims she was fired from her job at a Roman Catholic school in northern Indiana after she had in vitro fertilization tells a federal judge that testimony about church doctrine concerning the procedure is irrelevant.”
Religion Clause Blog: During the past two weeks, the EEOC announced the settlement of three religious discrimination lawsuits. Each involves damages for the individual victim(s) as well as changes in the company’s anti-discrimination policies and/or its training for managers and employees . . .
WorldNetDaily: Arts & Entertainment Network, a little more than a week after announcing it was putting Duck Commander Phil Robertson of the immensely popular “Duck Dynasty” television show on hiatus over some comments he made, is backing down.
No Unemployment Benefits Because Employee Failed To Notify Employer of Scope of Needed Religious Accommodation
Religion Clause Blog: In Rhodes v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 2013 Pa. Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 890 (PA Commonwealth Ct., Dec. 16, 2013), the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania agreed with the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review that a former veterans’ center food service worker had left his job voluntarily, and had not been forced to leave because of discrimination based on his religious beliefs
Religion Clause Blog: In Farah v. A-1 Careers, (D KA, Nov. 20, 2013), a Kansas federal district court dismissed a claim by a Muslim former employee of a temporary staffing agency that the agency unreasonably failed to accommodate his need to pray at noontime. The court held . . .
Religion Clause Blog: The EEOC announced yesterday the entry of a consent decree in a suit against a New Jersey car dealership for refusing to hire a Sikh man as a sales associate because his religiously-required beard did not meet the company’s dress code. The decree in EEOC v. United Galaxy Inc., d/b/a Tri-County Lexus, (D NJ) . . .
Des Moines Register: A southwest Iowa grocery store owner who lectured an employee on her religious beliefs must pay her unemployment benefits, a state judge has ruled. The case centered on a question that often divides civil libertarians and people of faith: Do business owners have the right to advocate for their religious beliefs in discussions with employees?
Religion Clause Blog: As reported by yesterday’s Oregonian, the complaint (full text) in Griffin v. City of Portland, (D OR, filed 4/9/2013) claimed that co-worker Theresa Lareau harassed plaintiff KellyMarie Griffin about her strong Christian beliefs, repeatedly making profane statements that offended Griffin and telling Griffin . . .
Religion Clause Blog: In Litzman v. New York City Police Department, (SD NY, Nov. 15, 2013), Fishel Litzman, a member of the Chabad Lubavitch Orthodox Jewish movement, was accepted into the NYPD Police Academy and sworn in as a probationary police officer. He sued when his request for a religious accommodation to allow him to wear a one-inch long beard was denied . . .
Fox News: Students at Rutgers University are rallying for the reinstatement of a campus bus driver who says he was pressured to resign after praying for a disabled passenger, but the company says he was ousted over a safety violation.
WCPO.com: A formal complaint will be filed against global shipping giant DHL after 24 Muslim employees say they were fired from a Northern Kentucky facility for protesting a rule change that undermined their ability to pray at work.
Religion Clause Blog: The EEOC announced on Monday that United Parcel Service has agreed to pay damages of $70,000 in settlement of a lawsuit charging the company with refusing to provide a Jehovah’s Witness employee with a schedule accommodation so he could attend an annual religious service.
Gregory Tomlin at Baptist Press: It is not solely religious speech (such as witnessing) that raises issues of accommodation, however. Accommodation of religious practices at work is of equal concern, a fact that prompted Alliance Defending Freedom to issue a lengthy explanation of workers’ religious rights as workplace diversity increases. The ADF guidelines, published in February 2013, come as numerous cases have been filed in the past decade over circumstances such as the wearing of hijabs by female Muslim employees and the firing of Christians who refused to work on Sunday . . . For the Alliance Defending Freedom guide on religious rights in the workplace, go to: http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/content/docs/issues/school/The-Rights-of-Religious-Employees-3.22.13.pdf. [more]
Religion Clause Blog: . . . in Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc. . . . Plaintiffs, including a Hindu, Muslim and Orthodox Christian, claim that the lunch options served to them violate their religious beliefs because the company sometimes puts meat products in the vegetarian dish or pork in the meat dish offered to workers.
Religion Clause Blog: In EEOC v. JBS USA, LLC, (D NE, Oct. 11, 2013), a Nebraska federal district court held that a beef processing plant need not accommodate the prayer practice of Somali Muslim employees because doing so would impose “undue hardship.”
JCONline.com: A federal magistrate has ordered a Roman Catholic diocese in northern Indiana to turn over a wide range of documents, including records involving diocese teachers disciplined for violating church teachings, to a former teacher who claims she was fired for undergoing in vitro fertilization.
Houston Chronicle: On behalf of the federal government, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has filed a lawsuit against a Texas recreational vehicle park for alleged discrimination against a transgender woman.
AP: A federal appeals court has dismissed claims by an Oklahoma woman who says she wasn’t hired by Abercrombie & Fitch because her headscarf conflicted with the retailer’s dress code, which has since been changed. | EEOC v. Abercrombie and Fitch Stores, No. 11-5110
Religion Clause Blog covers three recent religious accomodation cases involving work on the Sabbath and employee clothing.
Religion Clause Blog: The EEOC filed a lawsuit in a West Virginia federal district court on Monday against Consol Energy and Consolidation Coal Co. charging that they had violated Title VII by failing to accommodate a Christian employee’s religious objections to biometric hand scanning to track his time and attendance.
Washington Times: But Mr. James‘ legal team claims he has a solid case of discrimination. In a letter sent to Fox Sports on Tuesday, Liberty Institute’s general counsel Jeff Mateer wrote that the “decision to terminate Craig James because of Mr. James‘ religious beliefs is a severe violation” of his liberties, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Religion Clause Blog: In Ghori-Ahmad v. U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, (D DC, Sept. 17, 2013), the DC federal district court refused to dismiss claims of religious and national origin discrimination, and of retaliation, bought by a former employee of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Religion Clause Blog: As previously reported, in a decision last January a Mississippi federal district court held that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act did not require a Mississippi county to allow a female juvenile detention officer who had converted to the Pentecostal faith to wear a skirt rather than pants at work.
AP: A federal judge in San Francisco has ruled that trendy clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch wrongly fired a Muslim worker who insisted on wearing a head scarf.
Religion Clause Blog: In Ambrose v. Gabay ENT & Associates, P.C., (ED PA, Aug. 15, 2013), a Pennsylvania federal district court allowed a former medical receptionist to proceed with her Title VII religious discrimination and retaliation claims against her former employers who insisted that she wear a name badge that contained a list of workplace rules under the heading “Our Ten Commandments.”
David Hacker at Jurist: In June, the US Supreme Court decided University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar [PDF], holding 5-4 that plaintiffs must prove Title VII retaliation claims with but-for causation. Ho-hum, right? Well, it turns out the Court’s opinion provides an important comparison between retaliation claims brought under Title VII and those of 42 USC § 1983. The Court’s opinion indicates that § 1983 claims, which protect against retaliation undertaken in response to the exercise of constitutional rights, are not subject to but-for causation, but remain governed by “mixed-motive” causation. This difference ensures robust protection of academic freedom and free speech for students and faculty and is essential to preservation of the “marketplace of ideas” on campus.
Religion Clause Blog: The EEOC announced last week the filing in June of a lawsuit against United Cellular, Inc. in an Alabama federal district court alleging refusal to accommodate a Seventh Day Adventist’s need to observe his Sabbath.
Church Autonomy Reconceived: The Logic and Limits of Hosanna-Tabor | Christiopher Lund at Nortwestern L. Rev. via SSRN
Lund, Christopher C., Church Autonomy Reconceived: The Logic and Limits of Hosanna-Tabor (July 16, 2013). Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 108, No. 2, 2014 Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2294766
Christian Science Monitor: An Iowa dentist did not unlawfully discriminate when he fired an employee he found attractive, fearing they might have an extramarital affair, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday in a case examining a murky area of employment law.
Discovery Institute Evolution News: On July 1, Discovery Institute delivered a petition to Ball State University (BSU) from more than 7,000 people, including more than 1,200 residents of Indiana, urging the university to defend the academic freedom of assistant professor of physics Eric Hedin.
AP: “Both decisions dilute the strength of Title VII in ways Congress could not have intended,” said Ginsburg, who called on Congress to change the law to overturn the court.
TX: Suit Alleges Applicant For County Position Was Asked Illegal Questions About Religion, Political Views
Religion Clause Blog: The Austin Statesman reports today on a federal lawsuit that was filed this week by Robert Lloyd, an unsuccessful applicant for the position of Constable in Williamson County, Texas.
Religion Clause Blog: In Valenzisi v. Stamford Board of Education, (D CT, June 5, 2013), a Connecticut federal district court dismissed a claim by high school math teacher challenging his termination on, among other grounds, Title VII and 1st Amendment claims of failure to accommodate his religious beliefs . . .
Religion Clause Blog: Land Line reports on the lawsuit filed May 29 by the EEOC against Illinois-based Star Transport, Inc. (EEOC press release). | Eugene Volokh comments on the ruling at the Volokh Conspiracy.
World Net Daily: SAVE has published a list of 13 organizations that have issued letters calling on the department to rescind its sexual assault directive, including the American Association of University Professors, the American Council for Trustees and Alumni, the National Association for Scholars, Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University, eight civil rights scholars, Accuracy in Media, the Heartland Institute, the Alliance Defending Freedom and Feminists for Free Expression.
Federal Court Dismisses Christian School’s Attempt to Stop Teachers From Suing and Awards Attorney’s Fees
Religion Clause Blog: In Family, Life, Faith and Freedom Educational Corporation v. Serrano, (CD CA, May 28, 2013), a California federal district court dismissed a lawsuit that was brought by a private Christian school against two of its teachers and the teachers’ attorneys seeking to enjoin them from filing an employment discrimination suit against the school in state court . . .
Jed Glickstein, Should the Ministerial Exception Apply to Functions, Not Persons?, 122 Yale L.J. 1964 (2013)
This Note accordingly suggests an alternative framework that more closely tracks the functional considerations that underlie the ministerial exception. In short, it argues that a revised exception—one that applies to ministerial functions, not ministerial persons—better strikes the balance between antidiscrimination values and religious liberty that the First Amendment requires.
Higher-Education Groups Split Over Workplace-Retaliation Case at Supreme Court | Chronicle of Higher Education
Peter Schmidt at Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription): Meanwhile, the Alliance Defending Freedom, an advocacy group concerned with religious freedom, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which focuses on free-speech rights, have submitted a brief expressing fear of the possible repercussions of a ruling against the plaintiff in the lawsuit, a physician suing a public medical school.
Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Title VII Retaliation Case Brought By Doctor Claiming Ethnic and Religious Discrimination
Religion Clause Blog: The U.S, Supreme Court yesterday heard oral arguments in University of Texas Southwest Medical Center v. Nassar, a Title VII retaliation case. (Transcript of oral arguments.) 42 USC 2000e-3(a) prohibits discrimination against an employee because that employee has opposed a discriminatory employment practice.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Nine former employees of Imani Christian Academy sued the East Hills school today, alleging that they lost their jobs because of their association with the religious group Petra International Ministries.
Religion Clause Blog: In Antoine v. First Student Inc., (5th Cir., April 10, 2013), the U,S, 5th Circuit Court of Appeals held that disputed issues of fact require that a Title VII religious accommodation claim brought by a Seventh Day Adventist be remanded for trial to the Louisiana federal district court.
WFMAZ.com: A substitute teacher who lost his job for showing his Bible to a student has filed a complaint against the Phillipsburg School District.
Complete or Partial Accommodation: An Analysis of the Federal Circuit Split Over the Duty of the Employer to Reasonably Accommodate the Religious Beliefs of the Employee | Andrew J. Hull at Regent U. Law Rev. on SSRN
Andrew J. Hull, Complete or Partial Accommodation: An Analysis of the Federal Circuit Split Over the Duty of the Employer to Reasonably Accommodate the Religious Beliefs of the Employee, (Regent University Law Review, Vol. 25, No. 1, 2012).
Religion Clause Blog: According to the EEOC complaint, a Tulsa, Oklahoma branch manager advertised for an operations supervisor through the website of a Tulsa church. When Edward Wolf who was not a member of that church applied for the position, most of his job interview focused on his religious activities and beliefs.
An employee of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit to challenge an EEOC policy that requires workers to investigate and prosecute claims against employers based on allegations of “sexual orientation” discrimination that have no foundation in federal law.
AP: A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an Indiana woman who says a Catholic diocese fired her from her teaching job because she had in vitro fertilization.
Bloomberg BNA: Protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers continue to emerge, but still more can be done to stop discrimination, an Equal Employment Opportunity commissioner and others said Feb. 13 during an employment law webinar sponsored by the American Bar Association
OH: No minister’s exemption for Catholic school that fired teacher over out of wedlock IVF pregnancy
Religion Clause Blog: In Dias v. Archdiocese of Cincinnati, (SD OH, Jan.30, 2013), a former technology coordinator at two Catholic Archdiocese schools sued under Title VII claiming pregnancy discrimination after she was fired for being pregnant and unmarried, and for becoming pregnant through artificial insemination.
Religion Clause Blog: In EEOC v. Rent-A-Center, Inc., (D DC, Jan. 18, 2013), the D.C. federal district court dismissed an EEOC lawsuit against a rent-to-own business finding that accommodating the religious beliefs of store manager Ferdinand Charles would impose an undue hardship on the company.
Religion Clause Blog: In Ballaban v. Bloomington Jewish Community (IN App., Jan. 17, 2013), a 3-judge Indiana appellate court, with each judge writing a separate opinion, rejected a rabbi’s claim that he had been wrongfully dismissed as congregational rabbi before the end of his 3-year contract.
Religion Clause Blog: In Chenzira v. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, (SD OH, Dec. 27, 2012), an Ohio federal district court held that a hospital customer service worker may be able to show that her employer’s refusal to accommodate her vegan beliefs amounted to religious discrimination under Title VII and state anti-discrimination laws. Plaintiff was fired for refusing to be vaccinated against the flu.
PilotOnline.com: A lawsuit filed by a former employee of the Chesapeake City Treasurer who claimed he was wrongly fired in 2011 for refusing to take his Bible off his desk has been dismissed
San Francisco Chronicle: A northern Indiana hospital has fired eight employees who refused to get flu shots under a new policy intended to protect patients from the potentially deadly illness.
12 News Now: A former pharmacist at a Walmart in California said she was fired by the retail giant because of her Christian beliefs. Now she is suing for religious discrimination, saying the store claimed to have caught her praying with a customer on camera, and cited that as the reason for termination
Religion Clause Blog: According to yesterday’s St. Louis Post Dispatch, Muslim cab driver Raja Awais Naeem has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit in state court against the city of St. Louis, its Metropolitan Taxicab Commission and Whelan Security, a private security company apparently in charge of security at the St. Louis airport.
Findlaw: The name of the game is reasonable compromise. United Parcel Services will learn this the expensive way, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The federal watchdog agency is suing UPS on behalf of a former employee who was denied time off to attend the Memorial of Christ’s Death, which is an annual religious service for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Religion Clause Blog: In Ross v. Colorado Department of Transportation, (D CO, Nov. 14, 2012), a Colorado federal district court dismissed a Christian employee’s Title VII claims for hostile work environment, failure to accommodate, discrimination, and retaliation. Plaintiff complained that his religious rights were infringed when a staff appreciation luncheon was rescheduled so that it would not take place during Ramadan, and when unit employees were invited by e-mail to have bagels and cream cheese in the cafeteria to mark the end of Ramadan
Religion Clause Blog: In Cannata v. Catholic Diocese of Austin, (5th Cir., Oct. 24, 2012), the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Americans With Disabilities Act brought against the Diocese of Austin by a former Music Director at a Catholic church.
Inside Higher Ed: A sharply divided federal appeals court on Wednesday refused to reconsider a March ruling that revived a lawsuit by a former graduate student against the University of Oregon. And the dissenting judges on the appeals court say that the refusal could endanger academic freedom and l leave faculty members vulnerable to litigious graduate students. The lawsuit charges that the university illegally retaliated against the graduate student after she complained of gender discrimination against female doctoral students in her program.
Religion Clause Blog: The Macon (GA) Telegraph reports on a lawsuit filed in a Georgia federal district court on Oct. 3 by a woman who claims religious and gender discrimination in her termination as nursery school coordinator at Friendship Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Georgia.
Religion Clause Blog: In Erdman v. Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church, (WA Sup. Ct., Oct. 4, 2012), the Washington Supreme Court in a case producing 3 opinions (lead opinion, concurrence, dissent/concurrence) dismissed a former church employee’s claim against the church for negligent supervision and negligent retention of its minister. The court also remanded plaintiff’s Title VII claims for further consideration in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hosanna-Tabor decision.
AP: Two national groups are supporting a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former Indiana parochial school teacher who claims she was fired for trying to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American Civil Liberties Union filed friends of the court briefs Monday in support of Emily Herx. Herx filed a federal lawsuit in April against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, claiming she was discriminated against for a disability when her teaching contract wasn’t renewed.
Religion Clause Blog: The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has added a page to its website titled “What You Should Know about the EEOC and Religious and National Origin Discrimination Involving the Muslim, Sikh, Arab, Middle Eastern and South Asian Communities.