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Cavanaugh v. Bartelt, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48746 (D. Neb., Apr. 12, 2016)

Articles Discussing Case:

Claims to Accommodate Flying Spaghetti Monster-ism Hit the Wall in Nebraska Court

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 26, 2016
On April 12, 2016, a district court in Nebraska rejected the religious accommodation claims advanced by a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.1 In denying the religious accommodation claims, the court was forced to walk a narrow line between precedents that bar courts from questioning the centrality of a belief to an individual’s faith, and cases that allow courts to assess the religious nature of a plaintiff’s beliefs. Because the plaintiff is an inmate and not an employee, this case does not involve reasonable accommodations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). But the court’s evaluation of what makes a belief system a “religion” offers insight into how other courts may address this complex and sensitive issue. The decision also provides interesting reading.