FordHarrison LLP • March 11, 2019
Executive Summary: With Spring around the corner, many employers will begin to receive varying requests for religious accommodations related to the upcoming religious holidays. These requests often conflict with the employer’s work hours/days or employment duties. Employers who outright refuse an employee’s request for accommodation to celebrate these religious holidays may put the company at risk of a claim for religious discrimination. Federal and state laws do not require that an employee be given paid time off for a religious holiday. However, federal law does require an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation for the religious beliefs of an employee, if the accommodation does not create an undue burden for the employer. Courts look at a number of factors in determining whether the requested accommodation is reasonable. Each request for religious accommodation should be reviewed individually to determine if an accommodation can be made. If the accommodation cannot be made the employer must be able to demonstrate that the religious accommodation creates an undue hardship.
Fisher Phillips • November 18, 2018
In a case of first impression, a federal appeals court just found that an applicant’s request for a religious accommodation did not constitute protected activity under Title VII for the purpose of establishing a retaliation claim. Under the 8th Circuit’s November 13 ruling, the appropriate avenue to challenge an employer’s denial of a religious accommodation request under Title VII is by filing a disparate treatment claim, not through a retaliation cause of action. What can employers take from the EEOC v. North Memorial Health Care decision?
Fisher Phillips • May 16, 2018
A California federal jury recently decided that Emerson Electric Company owes prefabricated module manufacturer BladeRoom Group Limited $30 million in damages for stealing trade secrets to build a massive new data center.
Fisher Phillips • May 01, 2018
19th-century British poet Alfred Tennyson once said, “In the Spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” And while you might hold a certain amount of affection for your employees this time of year and want to show them how much you care, you might want to refrain from saying “I love you” to them. That’s because an employer who did just that, and encouraged its workforce to share the same sentiments with coworkers on a regular basis, learned the hard way that such comments are not necessarily appropriate for the workplace.
Ogletree Deakins • February 20, 2018
For the first time since a 2012 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals elaborated on and applied the Supreme Court’s four-factor analysis to determine whether a position is properly considered a ministerial role.
FordHarrison LLP • January 29, 2018
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the formation of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The new division will review complaints from medical professionals who object on religious or moral grounds to participating in the provision of certain services and/or to certain patients. HHS has also released proposed regulations that would increase the OCR’s responsibility and enforcement power as to existing federal health care antidiscrimination laws involving protections for health care workers related to services such as abortion, sterilization, and assisted suicide.
Ogletree Deakins • December 19, 2017
So it begins—the annual holiday marathon. But which holidays come to mind? Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Festivus? The answer may differ depending on a host of factors, such as an individual’s family traditions, cultural upbringing, or religious beliefs. As we prepare holiday to-do and shopping lists, employers may want to keep in mind their legal obligations for recognizing, addressing, and accommodating employees’ religious needs. Below is a list of five considerations to keep top of mind this season and year-round to stay off the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) naughty list and limit your company’s exposure to unwanted gifts in the form of religious discrimination complaints.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • December 07, 2017
The United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case with potentially far-reaching implications for issues at the intersection of civil rights and religious freedoms on December 5, 2017. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, No. 16-111.
XpertHR • December 06, 2017
A divided US Supreme Court heard arguments today in a closely watched case that asks whether the First Amendment can exempt a business owner from prohibitions against discriminating based on sexual orientation because of his religious beliefs. In Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. V. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a Colorado baker claimed that requiring him to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple would violate his free speech rights.
XpertHR • September 14, 2017
Religious accommodation questions often present unique challenges for employers who are faced with determining whether they should bend their time off or dress code rules to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs and practices. For example, a Muslim employee may request to pray during the work day, a Jewish employee may seek to leave early on Fridays for the Sabbath or a Sikh employee may want to wear a turban to work.