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Carolina Company Sued by EEOC for Alleged Religious Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that it filed a lawsuit last month against a South Carolina company that allegedly refused to accommodate a truck driver’s religious beliefs. The employee apparently subscribed to a Hebrew Pentecostal religious faith that forbade him from engaging in labor during the prescribed Sabbath (Saturday). The EEOC alleged that the trucking company engaged in religious discrimination against the driver after he was terminated for refusing to work a particular Saturday.

Mandatory Flu Shot Programs Without Religious Exemptions Targeted by EEOC

Employers that require their employees to get flu shots must provide exemptions for employees whose religious beliefs forbid vaccinations or risk a lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

“Onionhead” is a Religion Under Title VII: Court Finds in Favor of Employees in Reverse Religious Bias Case

A federal district court recently ruled that an employer-initiated program known as Onionhead was a religion for the purposes of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. United Health Programs, No. 14-CV-3673 (September 30, 2016), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York held that Onionhead (also sometimes known as Harnessing Happiness) “qualifies as a religion” under Title VII.

Company Practices "Onionhead" – Employees Cry Reverse Religious Discrimination

A New York federal court recently sided with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) as to whether a company’s internal conflict-resolution program was religious in nature.1 Because the program—called “Onionhead,” or occasionally, "Harnessing Happiness"—was deemed religious, the company was held potentially liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) for seeking to impose its own religious beliefs on employees.

Court Tosses Flu Shot Lawsuit

In our last edition of the Healthcare Update, we reported that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had filed a June 2016 lawsuit against that Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts, claiming that the employer did not reasonably accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of an employee who refused to take a flu shot.

EEOC: “Wanted: Younger Workers Who Want To File Religious Discrimination Claims”

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal watchdog agency patrolling the nation for workplace law violations, recently announced its intention to target younger workers to see if they feel victimized by religious discrimination. To that end, the agency created a one-page information sheet released on July 22 intended to educate younger workers about their rights under federal law when it comes to religious discrimination, harassment, and accommodations. Because the gig economy uses a workforce that skews somewhat younger, it seems likely that you will need to understand your obligations with respect to this area of law or face legal consequences.

EEOC Issues Religious Discrimination Prevention Resource

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced the release of a one-page fact sheet designed to communicate religious discrimination protections to younger workers. In addition, the EEOC will implement changes in the collection of demographic data from individuals who file charges with the agency, which may yield more precise information regarding religious discrimination.

Accommodating Ramadan in the Workplace: Top 10 Tips

Muslims around the world are celebrating the month-long religious holiday of Ramadan from June 5 to July 5. As part of their observance, many Muslims are required to fast and refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. Many will also partake in daily prayers (up to five times a day, including before dawn and at sunset) and special evening prayers.

eLABORate: Religious Discrimination ... Or Infectious Insubordination?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has filed suit against a Massachusetts hospital, alleging it discriminated against an employee on the basis of religion when it fired her for not complying with a facemask requirement after she declined a flu shot for religious reasons. EEOC v. Baystate Med. Ctr., Inc. raises unique issues of what constitutes a reasonable accommodation to religious practices under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), as well as the scope of what is an undue hardship for employers, especially in the context of a health care provider.

Hospital May Fire Employee Who Refused Influenza Vaccination, Federal Court Finds

A Boston hospital reasonably accommodated an employee’s religious objections to its influenza vaccination program by offering alternatives, but exempting the employee from the vaccination requirement would impose an undue hardship on the hospital because of the risk of infection to patients, a federal court in Massachusetts has concluded, granting the hospital’s motion for summary judgment in an employee’s religious discrimination suit. Leontine K. Robinson v. Children’s Hospital Boston, C.A. No. 14-10263-DJC (D. Mass. Apr. 5, 2016).