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MM411 Chapter 10 Religious Discrimination Power Point Outline



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  • 1. Chapter 10
    Religious Discrimination
    Employment Law for BUSINESSsixth edition
    Copyright © 2009 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 2. Statutory Basis
    It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer—
    (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s . . . religion . . . or
    (2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s religion . . . Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; 42 U.S.C. 20002-2(a).
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
    10 – 2
  • 3. Religious Discrimination in General
    Freedom of religion is highly valued and has enjoyed a protected position in American law.
    First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the free exercise of religion.
    Title VII embodies this principle in the employment arena by prohibiting discrimination in employment based on religious beliefs or practices
    While claims based on religious discrimination comprise less than 10% of the claims filed with the EEOC, they are on the rise.
    10 – 3
  • 4. Major Religions in the U.S., 2001
    10 – 4
  • 5. Religion as a BFOQ
    Religious organizations are typically exempt from the religious prohibitions in Title VII.
    Title VII permits religion to be a bona fide occupational qualification if it is reasonably necessary to the employer’s particular normal business operations.
    And, if the organization has secular activities such as running a day care center, or athletic facility, which does not involve religion, it may still enjoy the same freedom to discriminate since these activities may have religion or propagation of the religion as an integral part of their activity.
    Read Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints v. Amos (p. 528 in Text), where the court upheld the church’s termination of a janitor in the church gym for not keeping current his church affiliation card.
    Title VII specifically permits educational institutions to employ those of a particular religion if they are owned in whole or in substantial part by a particular religion.
    10 – 5
  • 6. What is Religion under Title VII?
    Title VII states: “the term ‘religion’ includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief.”
    Atheism has been considered a “religion” for Title VII purposes.
    However, courts have determined that groups like the Ku Klux Klan are not religious organizations but political organizations.
    Employers cannot question the acceptability of an employee’s religion or question when or why they came to believe.
    Read Peterson v. Wilmur Communications (p. 531 in Text), where an employee was demoted when a newspaper article published his religious views. The employee was a member of the World Church of the Creator which preaches white supremacy.
    10 – 6
  • 7. Religious Conflicts
    Most frequent basis for Title VII lawsuits occurs when an employee is engaging in some religious practice that is not perceived to be compatible with the workplace.
    Employee may wish not to work on a particular day, as it is their Sabbath.
    Or, the employee may wish to dress a certain way for religious reasons.
    Or, the employee may wish to take certain days off for religious holidays or observances.
    Sometimes the conflict is with the employer’sreligion.
    Make sure that the basis for the conflict is a religious one
    Try to work out an accommodation
    10 – 7
  • 8. Employer’s Duty to Reasonably Accommodate
    Unlikethe other categories under Title VII (race, color, gender, national origin), the prohibition against religious discrimination is not “absolute.”
    The category of religion has built into it a duty to reasonably accommodate the employee’s religious conflict unless doing so would cause an undue hardship on the employer.
    There is a duty to reasonably accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act but it is different and we will cover this in Chapter 9.
    10 – 8
  • 9. Employer’s Duty to Reasonably Accommodate (cont’d)
    Once an employer is aware of the conflict:
    The employer must attempt a good-faith accommodation
    The employee must assist in the attempted accommodation
    If an accommodation is not possible, OR, the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer, the employer can follow its policy even though it has the effect of discriminating against the employee on the basis of religion.
    10 – 9
  • 10. Employer’s Duty to Reasonably Accommodate (cont’d)
    To summarize:
    An employer must reasonably accommodate or attempt to accommodate the employee to be relieved of liability under Title VII.
    If accommodation cannot be found, the employer’s duty is discharged.
    The important factor is to attempt an accommodation rather than simply dismissing the conflict.
    Employee activity need not be accommodated if doing so causes an undue hardship for the employer.
    10 – 10
  • 11. Employer’s Duty to Reasonably Accommodate (cont’d)
    EEOC and courts look at several factors in determining whether the employer has successfully borne the burden of reasonably accommodating the employee’s religious conflict:
    Whether the employer made an attempt at accommodation
    The size of the employer’s workforce (greater the size, usually the greater the opportunity to accommodate)
    The type of job in which the conflict is present (some positions are much more difficult to “cover” than other positions)
    The employer’s checking with other employees to see if anyone was willing to assist in the accommodation
    The cost of accommodation
    The administrative aspects of accommodation (does the accommodation disrupt the work flow?)
    10 – 11
  • 12. What Constitutes Undue Hardship?
    What constitutes undue hardship varies from situation to situation. However, the EEOC has provided employers with the following guidelines as to what factors it will consider in determining undue hardship:
    The nature of the employer’s workplace
    The type of job needing accommodation
    The cost of the accommodation
    The willingness of other employees to assist in the accommodation
    The possibility of transfer of the employee and its effects
    What is done by similarly situated employers
    The number of employees available for accommodation
    The burden of accommodation on the union (if any)
    10 – 12
  • 13. What Constitutes Undue Hardship? (continued)
    Courts find undue hardship if an employer has to:
    Violate the seniority provision of a collective bargaining agreement
    Pay out more than a “de minimis” cost (in terms of money or efficiency) to replace a worker who has religious conflicts, i.e., hiring an employee to take another employee’s place on the Sabbath.
    Force other employees to trade places with the employee who has a religious conflict.
    10 – 13
  • 14. Union Activity and Religious Discrimination
    Courts have determined that unions, as well as employers, are under a duty to reasonably accommodate religious conflicts.
    Religious conflicts caused by provisions in a collective bargaining agreement may arise in the workplace:
    Union membership
    Payment of union dues
    Picketing and striking
    Courts have ruled that it violates Title VII for an employer to discharge an employee for refusal to join the union because of his or her religious beliefs.
    10 – 14
  • 15. Union Activity and Religious Discrimination (cont’d)
    Reasonably accommodating employees with religious objections may include the employee keeping his/her job without paying union dues, or paying their dues instead to a non-union, non-secular charitable organization chosen by the union and the employer, if it would not create an undue hardship.
    Union may be able to prove undue hardship if many of the employees chose to have their dues instead paid to a non-union, non-secular charitable organization, since the impact on the union could be substantial.
    10 – 15
  • 16. Management Tips
    Take all employee notices of religious conflicts seriously.
    After an employee puts the employer on notice of a religious conflict, immediately try to find ways to avoid the conflict.
    Ask the employee with the conflict for suggestions on avoiding the conflict.
    Ask, but don’t require, other employees to assist.
    Keep workplace religious comments and criticisms to a minimum.
    Make sure all employees understand that they are not to discriminate against employees on the basis of religion.
    10 – 16
  • 17. Summary
    Employees are protected in the workplace in their right to adhere to and practice their religious beliefs.
    Employer cannot question the acceptability of employee’s religion or when the employee came to believe.
    The employer has the duty to reasonably accommodate the employee’s religious conflict unless to do so would cause the employer undue hardship.
    Title VII also prohibits harassment on the basis of religion in the workplace.
    10 – 17
  • 18. Summary (continued)
    While employer must make a good-faith effort to reasonably accommodate religious conflicts, if such efforts fail, employer will have discharged his or her legal duties under Title VII.
    10 – 18
  • 19. End of Chapter 10 Power Point! 
    10 – 19
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