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Religious Discrimination

     Monthly Law Journal Article: Legal Challenges to Police and Fire Chaplain Programs, 2009 (4) AELE Mo. L.J. 201.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Rights of Rastafarian Employees and Inmates, 2015 (8) AELE Mo. L. J. 201.

     A police officer claimed that department officials violated his freedom of religion by allegedly holding a group prayer during an official meeting and subsequently assigning him to non-law enforcement duties as punishment for his non-participation. A federal appeals court ruled that, if the facts were as described by the plaintiff, the defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity on an Establishment Clause claim. It was clearly established law that the prayer was state-sponsored during the official meeting and that ordering the officer, against his will, to stand nearby while his colleagues engaged in a prayer, and then humiliating and punishing him for non-conformance, constituted religious coercion. Marrero-Mendez v. Calixto-Rodriguez, #14-2030, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 13178 (1st Cir.).
     When a woman from Saudi Arabia started to work at a county court, her clothing marked her as a Muslim. When she was assigned to child care duties, she was the only employee in that position who was an Arab or a Muslim. Her superior was an allegedly vocal Christian, and the employee filed internal complaints about his behavior, contending that he established a hostile working environment for her. Her superior said he was tired of her complaints and she was transferred to the court reporter's office, an assignment in which she wass allegedly treated badly and subjected to retaliation because she had filed EEOC complaints. She sued under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, asserting that her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights had been violated. A federal appeals court found that the plaintiff adequately stated a claim for a hostile work environment and that her superiors were not entitled to qualified immunity for their alleged actions of retaliation. The employee had engaged in protected conduct in complaining about alleged religious and national origin harassment. Her complaints about abusive conduct including screaming, prayer circles at work, social shaming, implied criticism of non-Christians expressed at work, and "uniquely bad treatment" of her were plausible. Huri v. Office of the Chief Judge, Cook County, #12-2217, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 18296 (7th Cir.).
     The U.S. Supreme Court, in an 8-1 ruling, held that an employer may have discriminated against a Muslim woman applicant for employment on the basis of religious discrimination when it failed to hire her because she wore a hijab headscarf to her interview. The subject of her religious beliefs never came up in the interview process, and the employer contended that its reason for the rejection was that the headscarf would violate its dress code. The Court held that in establishing a claim for unlawful disparate treatment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it was not necessary to show that the employer had actual knowledge of the applicant's need for an accommodation, but only that the applicant's need for an accommodation for a religious practice was a motivating factor in the employer's decision. Further a discrimination claim based on failure to accommodate a religious practice did not have to be raised as a disparate impact claim rather than a disparate treatment claim, as religious practice was a protected characteristic that could not be accorded disparate treatment. Title VII gives favored treatment to religious practices rather than demanding that a religious practice be treated no worse than other practices. EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., #14-86, 2015 U.S. Lexis 3718.
     A Jewish police officer was awarded $540,000 in damages against a now retired supervising sergeant who he said taunted him for years with anti-Semitic and racist remarks, calling him a "bloodsucking parasite," a "Fucking Jew boy," and similar epithets. The sergeant would allegedly greet him with a Nazi salute, and several times showed a swastika logo to the plaintiff, a German Jew who lost relatives in the Holocaust during World War II. The City of Chicago was previously dismissed from the lawsuit, so the award is only against the retired sergeant. Sommerfield v. City of Chicago, #1:08-cv-03025, U.S. Dist. Ct. (N.D. Ill. July 28, 2014).
     A police captain sued challenging his punishment for objecting to an order requiring that he either himself attend a law-enforcement appreciation event hosted by a local Islamic Society or else order subordinates to do so. He claimed that the order violated the First Amendment's establishment of religion clause as well as impairing the free exercise of religion and freedom of association. A federal appeals court upheld summary judgment for the defendants. The plaintiff's own religious freedom rights were not burdened as he was not required to violate his personal religious beliefs by necessarily himself attending the event. Further, there was no establishment of religion because "no informed, reasonable observer would have perceived the order or the event as a government endorsement of Islam;" There was no violation of his right to freedom of association as there was no interference with his freedom to determine what organizations he wished to become a member of. The appeals court found that an equal protection challenge was duplicative of the free exercise of religion claim and also failed. Fields v. City of Tulsa, #12-5218, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 9521 (10th Cir.).
     An employee of the Department of Homeland Security claimed that he was passed over for a position as a deportation officer because of his Muslim religion, African-American race, and/or his Arabic national origin. A federal appeals court vacated summary judgment for the employer, finding that the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence that he had been subjected to discrimination to present a question of fact for a jury. The evidence indicated that his language skills, long job tenure, and exemplary record made him more qualified than other applicants selected for the position. Further, there was evidence of past hiring and promotions which excluded minorities, including the selection of three white males for the positions, from which discriminatory animus in the selection process could be inferred.
Ahmed v. Napolitano, #13-1054, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 9454 (1sr Cir.).
     Public employees of the state of Illinois have a statutory right to non-association with a union based on bona fide religious tenet or teachings of church or religious body of which such employees are members. They are entitled to pay an amount equal to their fair share dues to a non-religious charity rather than to a union. The plaintiff, a public employee whose coworkers were represented by the Teamsters, notified the union that he did not wish to join the union and wanted to donate his union dues to a charity. The union failed to respond to his email and took receipt of his fair-share dues, failing to put them into escrow. The court held that the collective bargaining agreement failed to safeguard the plaintiff's right of non-association, and that this failure constituted an unfair labor practice by both the union and the employer. Trygg v. The Illinois Relations Board, 2014 IL App (4th) 130505.2014 Ill. App. Lexis 299.
     A federal judge ruled that a city and its police officials did not violate the religious freedom rights of a police captain who was disciplined for refusing, on religious grounds, to attend a community policing event at a local mosque or else order his subordinates to attend. A directive indicated that someone should attend a law enforcement appreciation day at the mosque. The plaintiff argued that doing so would violate his Christian religious beliefs. The court found that no reasonable jury could find that the captain was personally ordered to attend the event "because the directive at issue permitted him to assign others to attend rather than attend himself. Therefore, the directive did not conflict with [his] sincere religious belief that he must proselytize when confronted by others whose religious beliefs differ from his." The court said that it need not decide whether a directive requiring him to personally attend the event would have violated his rights. Fields v. City of Tulsa, #11-cv-115, 2012 U.S. Dist. Lexis 176698 (N.D. Okla.).
     A city and police department officials did not violate the First Amendment religious freedom rights of a Christian police officer who claimed that he was demoted and given a two-week unpaid suspension because he refused what he interpreted as orders to attend an event known as law enforcement officer appreciation day at a Muslim mosque. He found the event objectionable because it was a Muslim worship service, and he believed that he would be proselytized at it. He also refused to assign other officers from his shift to attend. In a lawsuit over the incident, the police chief stated that he could not have a police department where everybody refuses to interact with Muslims in the community because of their personal religious beliefs. The court held that no reasonable jury could find that an order to attend the event violated the officer's right to practice his religion. Fields v. City of Tulsa, #11-cv-115, 2012 U.S. Dist. Lexis 176698 (N.D. Okla.).
     A federal appeals court rejected a challenge to the legality of a prison-paid chaplaincy program that limited the hiring of chaplains to only those who were members of five major faiths--Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Native American religions. While a Wiccan chaplain believed that it was unfair that he was not compensated for his services, there was no showing of intentional discrimination against him on the basis of religion. On his employment discrimination claim, requiring that he be a member of the designated faiths was a bona fide occupational qualification justified by the requirement of meeting the religious needs of the prisoners. The court did not reach the issue of whether Wiccan inmates could succeed in a challenge to the policy, but did say that, at this point, there is no clearly established right of Wiccan prisoners to have a paid chaplain. McCollum v. California Department of Corrections, #09-16404, 647 F.3d 870 (9th Cir. 2011).
     Federal appeals panel rejects a discrimination action brought by an Apostolic Christian who was fired for insulting a coworker's sexual orientation. The terminated employee allegedly screamed that God does not accept gays, they should not be on earth, and they will go to hell because they are not right in the head. Matthews v. Wal-Mart, #10-2242, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 6647 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
    Muslim police officer who was terminated after being questioned by the FBI for possible links to terrorist groups accepts $125,000 from the city and school district. A flier with his police ID photo had been circulated in the local school district advising that he is "currently under investigation by the FBI for possible affiliation with a terrorist organization." Fernandes v. City of Fremont. [Cal. Govt. Code §910-913.2 claim]
     The failure to accommodate an employee's request to have every Saturday off for religious reasons did not violate Title VII because management is not required to disregard a seniority system to accommodate an employee's religious beliefs. Harrell v. Donahue, #10-1694, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 6621 (8th Cir.).
     Third Circuit affirms a $100,000 award to a part-time police officer who was laid off due to budget constraints. The chief had made adverse comments about the officer's church attendance and there was an earlier effort to prohibit him from wearing of a cross pin. Risk v. Burgettstown Borough, Pa., #08-4746, 364 F. Appx. 725, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 2906, 108 FEP Cases (BNA) 1040 (Unpub. 3d Cir. 2010).
     Federal court finds that management had made good faith effort to accommodate a Muslim officer's religious belief in growing his beard by allowing a one-quarter inch beard. Wallace v. City of Philadelphia, #06-4236, 2010 WL 1730850, 2010 U.S. Dist. Lexis 42437, 109 FEP Cases (BNA) 401 (E.D. Pa. 2010).
     Appellate panels affirms the dismissal of a lawsuit by a parole officer that alleged a failure to accommodate his religion, but revives his complaint of a hostile work environment. Whether the conduct alleged was so severe or pervasive as to create an objectively hostile or abusive work environment must be decided based on the totality of the circumstances. The plaintiff presented evidence of six interactions with his supervisors over a three-year period that implicated his religion. Leifer v. N.Y. Div. of Parole, #07-0642-cv, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 17646 (Unpub. 2nd Cir.).
     U.S. Army allows a non-citizen service member to wear a turban (dastaar), a beard and long hair, to accommodate his Sikh religious preferences. Recruited under the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest Program, he is fluent in Punjabi and Hindi. In re Simran Lamba, G-1 Human Resources Policy Directorate (8/30/2010).
     Eighth Circuit upholds an employer's safety policy that prohibits headwear and loose-fitting clothing for workers at a printing plant. The EEOC represented a Muslim woman who refused to remove her khimar. The employer had a "legitimate, nondiscriminatory ... facially neutral, safety-driven dress policy prohibiting all employees ... from wearing loose clothing or headwear of any kind." EEOC v. Kelly Services, #08-3880, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 6173 (8th Cir.).
    Seventh Circuit finds that a sheriff violated the First Amendment's "Establishment" of a religion clause, by inviting a Christian group to speak at a number of mandatory employee meetings. The presentations gave the appearance of an endorsement. Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Assn. v. Clarke, #08-1515, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 26344, 107 FEP Cases 1571 (7th Cir, 2009).
    Federal court refuses to dismiss a suit brought by a terminated female Pentecostal bus driver who challenged a rule requiring all drivers to wear pants. The rule had a disparate impact on her religion, which requires women to wear skirts. She alleged that she was terminated for refusal to comply with policy and that there was no business justification for it. The judge also rejected the claim that disparate impact claims have no place in religious discrimination actions. Jenkins v. New York City Transit Auth., #08 Civ. 6814, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 56008 (S.D.N.Y.).
     Appellate court rejects a no-beard rule for firefighters who claim a religious exemption. "The positive pressure in the SCBA system is adequate to protect the bearded firefighter from any leakage that may be caused by facial hair." Potter v. Dist. of Columbia, #07-7164, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 4540 (D.C. Cir.).
     In a religious discrimination action brought by a police officer, his lawyer had summarized 11 depositions and distilled thousands of pages of testimony into a 26-page report for the plaintiff’s expert witness. The expert did not independently verify that the summarized information was accurate and did not review the depositions. The court granted the city’s motion to strike the expert report and bar the expert from testifying at trial. Sommerfield v. City of Chicago, #06-cv-3132, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 88760 (N.D. Ill.).
    After a city changed psychologists it used for pre-employment evaluations, the firm failed to prove that his protected activity was a motivating factor in their termination of the contract because of his membership in a conservative, religious organization. Campion, Barrow & Associates v. City of Springfield, #06-CV-3215, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 21249 (C.D. Ill.); prior ruling at 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 56235.
     Jury awards a former worker $147,174 for economic losses, $500,000 for emotional distress and $5.9 million in punitive damages against her former employer. Initially, a federal district court in Sacramento dismissed her lawsuit. Reversing, the Ninth Circuit recognized a claim of reverse religious discrimination. The plaintiff had alleged she was denied a promotion because she was not a member of a favored religious group. Post-trial, the judge reduced the punitive damages award to $647,174, plus attorney's fees. Noyes v. Kelly Services, #2:02-cv-2685, Pacer Doc. 226 (7/31/2008); prior decis. at #04-17050, 488 F.3d 1163 (9th Cir. 2007).
     Jewish police officer's claim that he was subjected to a hostile work environment was sufficient to support the jury's verdict; statements made by superiors that referred to "dirty Jews" and demeaning persons of Jewish ancestry conveyed an ongoing hostility. Cutler v. Dorn, #A-51-2007, 2008 N.J. Lexis 895, 104 FEP Cases (BNA) 25
     The New Jersey Dept. of Corrections' training academy no-facial hair policy was facially neutral and only incidentally burdened religious conduct. It was rationally related to compliance with federal and state health regulations concerning the use of respirator masks and to a concern about the esprit de corps, which comes from uniformity of appearance. It did not violate the rights of a Muslim trainee removed from the training program when he failed, on three separate occasions, to keep his beard within parameters that were allowed to him as an accommodation of his religion. Valdes v. New Jersey, #07-2971, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 17380 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
     Federal court grants a partial summary judgment for a Las Vegas police officer who converted to Orthodox Judaism and grew a beard. Agency policy allowed medical exemptions from the no-beards rule for uniformed personnel, but not for religious reasons. Riback v. Las Vegas Metro Police Dept., #2:07-cv-0115 (D.Nev.).
     Federal court declines to dismiss a discrimination action brought by a Muslim Arab-American law enforcement officer against the city, where an employee of an outside contractor caused the offensive behavior. Doe v. City of New York, #06-CV-13738, 102 FEP Cases (BNA) 1478, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 33488 (S.D.N.Y.).
     Fourth Circuit rejects an action brought by the EEOC on behalf of a worker that belonged to the Living Church of God and who sought extensive leave for religious reasons. Employers must respect seniority rights, if protected in a bargaining agreement, when excusing attendance from work. EEOC v. Firestone, #06-2241, 515 F.3d 307, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 2949, 102 FEP Cases (BNA) 961 (4th Cir.).
     An atheist member of a town council had been recalled by the voters and removed from public officer because of his refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Any alleged injury resulting from social pressure to recite the pledge was not compensable or redressable. Habecker v. Town of Estes Park, #06-1515, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 5630 (10th Cir.).
     Appellate court upholds the termination of a Muslim firefighter for taking an unauthorized leave to visit Mecca. The plaintiff failed to cooperate and explore accommodation through shift trades, unpaid leave, vacation time, or other possible options before departing on his religious pilgrimage." Waqia v. City of Oakland, #A114704, 2007 Cal. App. Unpub. Lexis 9558 (1st Dist.).
     Federal court finds that a sheriff and a captain violated the "Establishment of Religion" clause of the First Amendment when they "invited representatives of a Christian organization to present a proselytizing Christian message to deputies at meetings held at the workplace during working hours, which deputies were required to attend, and conveyed a message of endorsement of the presentations. The effect of defendants' actions was to promote religion and to do so coercively." A Catholic and a Muslim deputy brought the suit. Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs Assn. v. Clarke, # 06-C-602, 513 F Supp.2d 1014, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 71454, 101 FEP Cases (BNA) 1519 (E.D. Wis.).
     It is a factual issue whether creating a new position for a Seventh Day Adventist to accommodate her religious belief against working on Sabbath, would impose an undue hardship on the city. Ford v. City of Dallas, #3:05-CV-1676-D,, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 50914 , 101 FEP Cases (BNA) 179 (N.D. Tex.).
     Federal court upholds Philadelphia police rule that prohibits the wearing of a religious scarf while in uniform. "Prohibiting religious symbols and attire helps to prevent any divisiveness on the basis of religion both within the force itself and when it encounters the diverse population of Philadelphia." Webb v. City of Philadelphia, #05-5238, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 42727 (E.D. Pa. 2007).
    Jewish police officer failed to prove a hostile work environment claim, where he and coworkers teased each other. Cutler v. Dorn, #A-5512-02T15512-02T1, 100 FEP Cases (BNA) 140, 2007 N.J. Super. Lexis 30.
     U.S. Justice Dept. sues N.Y. DoC seeking accommodation of Muslim Corrections officers to wear a Kufi (skullcap) while in uniform. U.S. v. N.Y. State Dept. of Corr. Servs., #07-2243 (S.D.N.Y.). The civil action parallels private litigation filed by an Islamic corrections officer. Haqq v. N.Y. State Dep't of Corr. Servs., #06-8156 (S.D.N.Y).
     Federal court rejects an employer's view that discriminatory conduct by coworkers was not severe or pervasive and did not create a hostile environment. Campbell v. Avis, #05-74472, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 72509 (E.D. Mich. 2006). {N/R}
     Wire services have reported that the widow of a soldier killed in Afghanistan won Nevada state approval to place a Wiccan religious symbol on his memorial plaque, something the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs had refused. The U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs does not recognize the Wiccan religion and prohibits the pentacle (a circle around a five-pointed star) on veterans' headstones in national cemeteries. In re Sgt. Patrick Stewart. {N/R}
     DC Circuit finds that certain Navy chaplains were entitled to injunctive relief, in a suit claiming that the Navy unconstitutionally maintained a religious quota system for the promotion, assignment, and retention of clergy that was prejudicial to chaplains of non-liturgical Protestant faiths. Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches v. England, #05-5143, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 16952, 98 FEP Cases (BNA) 603 (D.C. Cir. 2006). {N/R}
     Federal court grants a summary judgment favoring a uniformed employee who was fired for wearing a headscarf during the month of Ramadan. EEOC v. Alamo Rent-A-Car, #2:02-cv-01908, 2006 WL 1464472, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 34674, Pacer Doc. 62 (D. Ariz. 2006). [2006 FP Sep]
     Ninth Circuit holds that a California county could prohibit an employee from discussing religion, displaying religious messages in his work cubicle, and using a conference room for prayer meetings. Berry v. Dept. of Social Services, #04-15566, 447 F.3d 642, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 10796, 97 FEP Cases (BNA) 1833 (9th Cir. 2006). {N/R}
     Federal appeals court rejects a suit by a prison chaplain who was disciplined after refusing to allow a gay inmate to lead the choir during a Protestant service. Akridge v. Wilkinson, #05-3015, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 10671 (6th Cir. 2006), affirming 351 F.Supp.2d 750. [2006 FP Jul]
     D.C. Court allows management to assign Muslim firefighters to administrative duties until it is clear their beards do not interfere with non-SCBA face-pieces. Potter v. Dist. of Columbia, #01-1189 382 F.Supp.2d 35, 2005 U.S. Dist. Lexis 16727, 96 FEP Cases (BNA) 1243 (D.D.C. 2005). [2006 FP Apr]
     Seventh Circuit holds than an employer can refuse to recognize a worker affinity group that promotes a particular religious position. Moranski v. G.M.C., #05-1803, 433 F.3d 537, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 28901, 97 FEP Cases (BNA) 97 (7th Cir. 2005). {N/R}
     Federal court allows a Seventh-day Adventist who was rejected as the village finance director to sue the village and its mayor for religious discrimination because budget meetings were typically held on Saturdays. Filinovich v. Claar, #04C7189, 2005 U.S. Dist. Lexis 24433 (N.D. Ill. 2005). [2006 FP Jan]
     Following Utah's lead, the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board has decertified a police chief and an officer for polygamy. In re Samuel Roundy and In re Vance Barlow (AZ POST 10-19-2005). The current POST action is unreported. [2005 FP Dec]
     Federal court rejects a discrimination suit brought by an Orthodox Jew who sought appointment as a state trooper but refused to work on the Sabbath. Sides v. N.Y. Div. of State Police, #03-CV-153, 2005 U.S. Dist. Lexis 12635, 96 FEP Cases (BNA) 196 (N.D.N.Y. 2005). [2005 FP Oct]
     Federal appeals court in Boston upholds an employer's refusal to allow workers to have visible body piercings, even if the employee claims the jewelry is worn for religious reasons. Cloutier v. Costco, #04-1475, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 24763, 94 FEP Cases (BNA) 1476 (1st Cir. 2004). [2005 FP Feb]
     Ninth Circuit upholds a hotel/casino's dress code policy that women must wear facial makeup. The plaintiff alleged gender discrimination. Jesperson v. Harrahs, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 26892 (9th Cir. 2004). [2005 FP Feb]
     Federal court declines to dismiss a suit brought by a Jewish police officer. Although she was allowed to wait until after sundown before taking the test, she objected to being monitored intrusively during the period when the promotional tests were given to all others. Kaplan v. City of Chicago, #99C1758, 2004 U.S. Dist. Lexis 22339 (N.D.Ill. 2004).[2005 FP Jan]
     Ninth Circuit upholds the termination of an evangelical Christian supervisor who violated an employer's policies when she criticized a subordinate's homosexuality and asked her to attend church. The subordinate transferred to another office because the supervisor's actions made her uncomfortable. Bodett v. CoxCom Inc., 366 F.3d 736, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 8154, 93 FEP Cases (BNA) 1108 (9th Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     Colorado federal jury finds that a Catholic business owner engaged in religious harassment when he required two subordinates, one an atheist and the other a Lutheran, to sign a prayer. One plaintiff was awarded $50,000 in compensatory damages, $45,000 in punitive damages, and $15,364 in back pay. Another plaintiff was awarded $50,000 in compensatory damages of $15,000 and punitive damages of $35,000. Defendant also was assessed attorneys' fees of $147,730 plus costs of $11,944. Millazzo v. Universal Traffic Services, #01-B-880, 289 F.Supp.2d 1251, 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 19352, 92 FEP Cases (BNA) 1532 (D. Colo. 2003; rptd. 2004). {N/R}
     Eighth Circuit finds that having a prayer session at a mandatory training program was a decisive endorsement of religion, and violated the First Amendment rights of a public employee who objected to the prayers. The appeals panel directed the trial court to widen the injunctive relief to include training sessions of other public employees, even if the plaintiff was not present. "...we believe that it is the government's endorsement of a particular religious message that constitutes the constitutional violation here, not the effects of official prayers on [the plaintiff's] psyche. Warnock v. Archer, #02-3322/03-1422, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 17938 (8th Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     Wiccan paganist wins suit against city council members who ended their opening prayers with "In Christ's name we pray." Fourth Circuit affirms an injunction prohibiting the council "from invoking the name of a specific deity associated with any one specific faith or belief in prayers given at town council meetings." Wynne v. Town of Great Falls, S.C., #03-2069, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 15186 (4th Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     Ninth Circuit rejects a wrongful termination action brought by a devout Christian who refused to remove a poster from his workplace, which quoted Biblical passages condemning homosexuality. An employer's duty to eliminate bias and intolerance prevails over a worker's individualized religious beliefs. Peterson v. Hewlett Packard Co., #01-35795, 358 F.3d 599, 92 FEP Cases (BNA) 1761, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 72 (9th Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     Supreme Court rejects appeal by a state trooper who refused assignment on a casino boat. Endres v. Indiana State Police, # 03-1183, cert. denied 124 S.Ct. 2032, 2004 U.S. Lexis 2778 (4/19/04); ruling below at 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 13027 (7th Cir. 2003) and in state court at 794 N.E.2d 1089, 2003 Ind. App. Lexis 1566. (2003). {N/R}
     Second Circuit reverses a lower court holding that an inference of religious discrimination cannot be drawn if the employee was fired by another person of the same religion. Feingold v. State of New York, #02-7985, 366 F.3d 138,2004 U.S. App. Lexis 8543 (2nd Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     Appeals court sustains the termination of a social worker that failed to call 911 to assist a person in her care, and instead tried "to drive out the demons" for the afflicted person with prayer and a strange language. The panel rejected her defense that she was fired for practicing the Pentecostal Christian religion. Howard v. Family Agency, #243973, 2004 Mich. Ct. App. Lexis 410 (2004). {N/R}
     Federal court holds that a county violated an employee's rights by firing her for repeatedly wearing a cross pendant. Draper v. Logan County Library, #1:02CV-13 (W.D.Ky. 2003). [2003 FP Nov]
     Fifth Circuit upholds a police rule against wearing religious or other pins on uniforms. "Visibly wearing a cross pin ... takes on an entirely different cast when viewed in the context of a police uniform." Daniels v. City of Arlington, #00-11191, 246 F.3d 500, 2001 U.S. App. Lexis 6018 (5th Cir.); cert. den. #01-187, 2001 U.S. Lexis 9494 (2001). [2001 FP May]
     Seventh Circuit sustains the firing of a police officer that refused to work at a casino because he views gambling as a sin. Endres v. Indiana State Police, #02-1247, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 13027 (7th Cir. 2003). [2003 FP Sep]
     A three-judge panel has upheld a disparate treatment complaint filed by an Islamic female public employee, who was told she could not wear a geles (headwrap) at work. Holmes v. Marion County, #02-1377, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 13027 (7th Cir. 2003). {N/R}
     The ACLU has lost a lawsuit filed in behalf of a veiled Muslim woman who demanded that a Florida driver's license be issued without an unveiled facial photo. Freeman v. St. of Florida, #CIO 02-600, 9th Jud. Cir. Ct. Fla. (2003). {N/R}
     Supreme Court declines to hear the appeal of a "Five Percent" adherent, who claimed he was fired because of his religious beliefs. Allah v. City of N.Y., #01-9114, 47 Fed. Appx. 45, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 20475 (Unpub. 2nd Cir. 2002); cert. denied, 2003 U.S. Lexis 1761 (S.Ct. 2003). [2003 FP Jun]
     Second Circuit finds that a Jewish deputy inspector of police sufficiently alleged promotional discrimination because of his religion and his public criticism of pro-Catholic bias in the agency; the appellate panel overturned a lower court order dismissing his claims. Mandell v. County of Suffolk, #01-7729, 316 F.3d 368, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 650, 90 FEP Cases (BNA) 1328 (2nd Cir. 2003). {N/R}
     Federal appeals court affirms a damage suit for the constructive discharge of a police counselor, because she observed the tenets of Native American spirituality, instead of Christianity. Campos v. City of Blue Springs, Mo., #01-2814, 289 F.3d 546, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 9831, 88 FEP Cases (BNA) 1441 (8th Cir. 2002). [2002 FP Dec]
     State human rights agency orders a transit authority to pay $50,000 to a Seventh Day Adventist who was required to work on the Sabbath. Testimony revealed the employer allowed other workers to swap days but ignored his requests. Marquez v. Mass. Bay Transp. Auth., Mass. Cmsn. Against Discrim. #97-BEM-3223, 40 (1969) G.E.R.R. (BNA) 740 (MDAC 2002). {N/R}
     A divided federal appeals panel holds that a Jehovah's Witness, who was a cadet with the Washington State Patrol cadet, was not constructively discharged for his unwillingness to salute the flag or take an oath. He resigned before he was threatened with disciplinary action. Lawson v. St. of Washington, #00-35458, 296 F.3d 799, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 14001 (9th Cir. 2002). {N/R}      
     Federal court in NY holds that Muslim firefighters lacked legal standing to challenge management's choice of an Islamic chaplain, but the Islamic Society of NYC firefighters had standing to challenge the selection under the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. Islamic Soc. of Fire Dept. Personnel v. City of N.Y., #00 CV 3705, 2002 U.S. Dist. Lexis 10699 (E.D.N.Y. 2002). [2002 FP Sep]
     Cook County Sheriff (Chicago) modifies his uniform headwear regulations to accommodate two deputies, a Jewish male and a Muslim female. In re Crystal Clark and Larry Davidson (claimants) and Michael Sheehan, Cook Co. Sheriff (respondent). Source: Chicago Sun-Times (7/7/02). [2002 FP Sep]
     Newark and EEOC settle lawsuit over grooming policies and overtime assignments for Muslim police officers. City agrees to accommodate their religious practices and pay compensatory damages. U.S. v. City of Newark, #00-CV-2368 (D.N.J. 2002). [2002 FP Aug]
     Appeals panel finds that a seniority clause on job assignments in a bargaining agreement takes precedence over the religious beliefs of a male driver who refused to work with women on overnight assignments. Virts v. Consol. Frtwys., #00-5501, 285 F.3d 508, 88 FEP Cases (BNA) 801, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 6005, 2002 FED App. 0114 (6th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
     Federal appeals court upholds disciplinary action against two health care workers who preached religious beliefs to public aid recipients. A public employer may require its workers to abstain from discussing religion with citizens they meet on the job. Knight v. Connecticut, #00-9131, 2001 U.S. App. Lexis 26430 (2nd Cir. 2001). {N/R}
     Supreme Court rejects the appeal of Islamic employee who was transferred because she refused to stop wearing a head scarf. Appellate court held that an involuntary transfer was not an ``adverse employment action.'' Ali v. Alamo Rent-A-Car, #00-1041, 2001 U.S. App. Lexis 3389 (Unpub. 4th Cir. 2001); cert. den. #00-1813, 2001 U.S. Lexis 7353, 70 L.W. 3245 (2001). [2001 FP 155]
     Federal appeals court upholds $25,000 punitive damage award against a supervisor who wrote a negative evaluation of a subordinate with whom she had religious disagreements. Phillips v. Collings, #00-2176, 256 F.3d 843, 2001 U.S. App. Lexis 16000, 86 FEP Cases (BNA) 411 (8th Cir. 2001). [2001 FP 139]
     Federal appeals court sustains the involuntary removal of an employee who refused to counsel homosexual and unmarried domestic partners for religious reasons. Accommodation would cause a hardship in a small office; $2,058,738 verdict reversed. Bruff v. No. Miss. Health Serv., #99-60175, 244 F.3d 495, 85 FEP Cases (BNA) 613, 2001 U.S. App. Lexis 4977 (5th Cir.). [2001 FP 59]
     Absent a hardship, the Dept. of Corrections had a duty to accommodate requests by an officer, who was a minister, for unpaid leave to attend religious conferences. An employer has the burden to show that it made a good faith effort to provide accommodation or that an accommodation would cause undue hardship on the facility. Jones v. New York City Dept. of Correction, 99 Civ. 10031, 2001 U.S. Dist. Lexis 2669 (Unpub. S.D.N.Y.). {N/R}
     Federal appeals court affirms termination of a Jehovah's Witness who refused to work when paired with a woman. Weber v. Roadway Exp., #98-1146, 199 F.3d 270, 2000 U.S. App. Lexis 150, 81 FEP Cases (BNA) 1138 (5th Cir.). [2000 FP 59]
     An "employer satisfies its Title VII religious accommodation obligation when it offers any reasonable accommodation," Shelton v. Univ. of Medicine, 223 F.3d 220, 2000 U.S. App. Lexis 19099, 83 FEP Cases (BNA) 1060 (3rd Cir.). {N/R}
     Federal appeals court upholds a sheriff who refused to supersede a seniority plan to accommodate an applicant who refused to work on the Sabbath. Balint v. Carson City, #96- 17342, 144 F.3d 1225; 1998 U.S. App. Lexis 10452, 76 FEP Cases (BNA) 1846. [1998 FP 123]
     Federal court refuses to dismiss a challenge to the use of the MMPI-2 and the Cal Psy. Inv. for psychological screening of Long Island police officers. The plaintiff claimed that some questions are of a religious nature and are unnecessary to evaluate police applicants. Bennett v. Co. of Suffolk, 30 F.Supp.2d 353, 1998 U.S. Dist. Lexis 20221, 78 FEP Cases (BNA) 1536 (E.D.N.Y.).
     Arbitrator orders reinstatement and back pay to a Muslim hospital worker who wore a skull cap and shirt hanging over his trousers, in defiance of the facility's dress code. The employer failed to accommodate his religious beliefs concerning clothing. Arbitrator also excused the employee's public outburst at a meeting, finding it was provoked by his supervisors insensitity to his religious beliefs. Liberty Medical Center, 109 LA (BNA) 609 (Gentile, 1997). {N/R}
     President issues "Guidelines on religious exercise and religious expression in the federal workplace," 33 Weekly Comp. Pres. Doc. 1246, FEP Manual (BNA) 403:9101-9110 (8-14-97). [1997 FP 153-4]
     Federal court rejects suit by Roman Catholic police officer who objected to being posted to monitor protestors at abortion clinics. Rodriguez v. City of Chicago, 1997 U.S.Dist. Lexis 12251 (N.D.Ill.). [1997 FP 154-5]
     In a divided opinion, the Supreme Court has held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 does not apply to state and local governments; City of Boerne v. Flores, 117 S.Ct. 2157 (1997). The justices left open the question whether it can be applied to federal agencies. {N/R}
     Massachusetts civil rights commission awards Muslim officer $300,000 in punitive damages because of the way he was treated by a coworker. Said v. Northeast Security, #91-BEM-1540, 1997 FEP Summary Part-I (BNA) 6 (Mass.Cm.Ag.Discr. 1996). [1997 FP 43]
     Vegetarian county employee settles his wrongful termination suit for $50,000; he was fired for refusing to hand out hamburger coupons. EEOC religious discrimination regulations includes "moral and ethical beliefs." Anderson v. Orange Co. Transit Auth., Orange Co. Cal. Super.Ct. No.765255; settlement reported in 11/20/96 L.A. Times A-3. [1997 FP 26-7]
     Federal court in Ohio upholds a ban on long ponytails for male correctional officers. A officer's spiritual beliefs, as a Native American religious practitioner, and the fact that women officers are permitted to pin up their hair, is not dispositive. Blanken v. Ohio Dept. Reh. & Corr., 1996 U.S.Dist. Lexis 16540 (S.D. Ohio). [1997 FP 9-10]
     Federal appeals panel overturns ban on religious advocacy by state employees in state office buildings. Tucker v. St. of Cal., 97 F.3d 1204, 1996 U.S.App. Lexis 26199 (9th Cir.). [1997 FP 12-13]
     Appeals court finds that an employer did not have a clear duty to breach the seniority provisions of the bargaining agreement, to allow an Adventist to always take off on the Sabbath. Genas v. St. Dept. Corr. Serv., 75 F.3d 825 (2nd Cir. 1996). [1996 FP 91]
     Federal court refuses to dismiss suit for injunctive relief brought by a Catholic police officer who was detailed to guard an abortion clinic. Rodriguez v. City of Chicago, 69 FEP Cases (BNA) 993, 1996 U.S.Dist. Lexis 533 (N.D.Ill.). [1996 FP 76]
     Federal appeals court concludes that Congress intended to legalize the use of marijuana by Rastafarians. U.S. v. Bauer, 1996 U.S.App. Lexis 1458, 75 F.3d 1366 (9th Cir.). [1996 FP 61-2]
     Federal court holds that an employer who fails to abate a worker from bothering another employee about religious matters can be liable for harassment. Peck v. Sony, 1995 U.S.Dist. Lexis 12322, 68 FEP Cases (BNA) 1025 (S.D.N.Y.). [1996 FP 10]
     Before sanctions for religious discrimination can lawfully apply, the employer must be aware the conduct is viewed as objectionable. Meltebeke v. Bur. of Labor and Indus., 322 Ore. 132, 69 FEP Cases (BNA) 56 (1995). [1996 FP 10]
     Federal appeals court reverses the termination of a county supervisory employee for his on-duty religious activities. Brown v. Polk County, 61 F.3d 650 (8th Cir. en banc 1995). [1996 FP 10-11]
     Federal appeals court invalidates designation of Good Friday as a government endorsed official holiday. Metzl v. Leininger, 57 F.3d 618 (7th Cir. 1995). {N/R}
     Federal court upholds the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Wisconsin's prison administration unsuccessfully urged the court to find the law unconstitutional. Sasnett v. Wis. Dept. Corr., 891 F.Supp. 1305 (E.D.Wis. 1995). {N/R}
     Appeals court upholds rotating shift schedules and management's refusal to further accommodate an officer who is a Seventh Day Adventist. Beadle v. Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Dept., 29 F.3d 589 & 40 F.3d 391 (11th Cir. 1994), cert.den. 115 S.Ct. 2001 (1995); Beadle v. City of Tampa, 42 F.3d 633 (11th Cir. 1995) [1995 FP 93]
     Federal court in New York refuses to dismiss a complaint, filed by an Adventist correction officer; employer unsuccessfully argued that a seniority provision in the collective bargaining agreement was a per se defense to a claim for reasonable accommodation. Genas v. St. Dept. of Corr. Svcs. 1994 U.S. Dist. Lexis 20037 (S.D.N.Y.); 67 FEP Cases (BNA) 27. See also: State v. Council 82 AFSCME, 575 N.Y.S.2d 175 (A.D. 1991); Appeal denied, 592 N.E.2d 799. (N.Y. 1992). See also: 75 F.3 825 (2nd Cir. 1996). [1995 FP 93]
     Federal court allows an employer to deny employment to those who, for religious reasons, refuse to provide a social security number. Hover v. Florida P&L, 67 FEP Cases (BNA) 71, 1994 U.S.Dist. Lexis 19920 (S.D. Fla.). [1995 FP 94]
     Congress passes the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S. Code Sec. 2000bb. It prohibits governmental burdens on the exercise of religion, absent (1) a compelling governmental interest and (2) the challenged law or regulation is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. The act applies to all Federal, state and local laws and regulations, including public agency personnel rules and policies. {N/R}
     O.S.H.A. exempts persons who refuse to wear hard-hats for religious reasons, pursuant to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993; the exemption reinstates a 1978 exception (withdrawn in 1990) for the Old Order Amish and Dharma Brotherhood, and extends it to "any employee" who objects for religious reasons. OSHA Instruction STD 1-6.5 (June 20, 1994) summarized in 1994 FEP Summary (BNA) 83 (7/18/94). {N/R}
     Sheriff’s Dept. did not discriminate against a Seventh Day Adventist in maintaining a neutral shift rotation plan. Dept. allowed the employee to swap shifts with other officers, and to announce at rollcall his need for alternative working periods. Beadle v. Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Dept., 65 FEP Cases (BNA) 1069 (11th Cir. 1994). {N/R}
     Religious Freedom Act of 1993 prompts the Dept. of Labor to exempt workers who have a religious objection from OSHA hard-hat requirements. Law also applies to regulations adopted by state and local government employers. Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S. Code Sec. 2000bb, P.L. 103-141, 107 STAT. 1488-9. [1994 FP 154-5]
     Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 is held retroactive. Lawson v. Dugger, 844 F.Supp. 1538 (S.D.Fla. 1994). [1994 FP 154-5]
     Arbitrator rules that public employers cannot prevent Jewish employees from taking religious holidays. Absences shall be unpaid, except that employees may use their "personal days" for religious observance purposes. Vicksburg Comm. Sch. and Kalamazoo Co. Ed. Assn., 101 LA (BNA) 771 (Daniel, 1993). [1994 FP 140]
     County could prohibit its employees from praying and reciting scriptures during working hours. Brown v. Polk County, 832 F.Supp. 1305 (S.D. Iowa 1993). [1994 FP 27]
     Police officer who was summarily terminated because he refused to wear a firearm for religious reasons awarded damages. Although a federal appeals court affirmed the award because of due process violations, the panel hastened to state that "we do not hold that (a city) must hire or retain a police force of pacifists." Miner v. City of Glens Falls, 999 F.2d 655 (2nd Cir. 1993). [1994 FP 20-1]
     Federal court in DC enjoins U.S. Marshal's Office from unfair disciplinary action and religious or ethnic harassment directed at Jewish deputy. Turner v. Barr, #91-3101, 30 (1493) G.E.R.R. (BNA) 1606 (D.D.C. 11/25/92). [1993 FP 28]
     Government did not violate Title VII when it refused to change an employee's work schedule to avoid the Sabbath. Mann v. Frank, 795 F.Supp. 1438 (W.D.Mo. 1992). [1993 FP 58] Affirmed 3-to 0; 63 FEP Cases (BNA) 634 (8th Cir. 1993). {N/R}
     Mere fact the superior who initiated disciplinary action and the reviewing officer were of the same religion, does not create a presumption of religious discrimination. Burden of proof of discriminatory animus rests on the plaintiff. Shapolia v. Los Alamos Natl. Lab., 61 FEP Cases (BNA) 1172 (10th Cir. 1993). [1993 FP 108]
     Federal court upholds disciplinary suspension of a DCPD sergeant who, for religious reasons, refused to participate in the arrests of anti- abortion protestors. Parrott v. Dist. of Col., 1991 WL 126020, 1991 U.S.Dist. Lexis 12647, 58 Emp. Prac. Dec. (CCH) 41,369 (D.D.C. 1991). {N/R}
     A fire dept. paramedic sued, following his termination, alleging that the county failed to accommodate his religiously-based objection to being assigned with female partners because "it is morally and spiritually wrong to sleep unsupervised in a room with another woman other than his wife." A federal court rejected his claims, finding that the county's rotating schedule furthered a legitimate need to reduce overtime costs and fairly distribute work assignments. Miller v. Drennon, 1991 U.S. Dist. Lexis 20382, 56 FEP Cases (BNA) 274 (D.S.C.). {N/R}
     Federal appeals court upholds termination of FBI agent who refused to investigate pacifist groups for religious reasons. Ryan v. U.S. DoJ, 950 F.2d 458, 57 FEP Cases (BNA) 854 (7th Cir. 1991). [1992 FP 11-12]
     Ex federal agent was entitled to a trial on whether religious discrimination prompted his dismissal. Ultimate proof of his claim can be adduced from indirect & circumstantial evidence. Rosen v. Thornburgh, 928 F.2d 528 (2d Cir. 1991). [1992 FP 75-6]
     Seventh Day Adventist loses a wrongful termination suit brought against the Dept. of Corrections and his union for failing to accommodate a demand to not work on the Sabbath. Blair v. Graham Corr. Ctr., 782 F.Supp. 411 (C.D.Ill. 1992). [1992 FP 93-4]
     Appellate court overturns arbitrator who directed management to permit a corrections officer to refuse to work on the Sabbath. State Dept. of Corr. Serv. v. Council 82 AFSCME, 575 N.Y.S.2d 175 (A.D. 1991). [1992 FP 157]
     The fact that an employer and an employee may hold and express conflicting religious beliefs does not necessarily make the employer's expression of his beliefs intimidating, hostile or offensive to those of the employee. EEOC v. Townley Eng., 859 F.2d 610 (9th Cir. 1988). {N/R}
     Federal court upholds city policy requiring employees who take off on non-designated religious holidays to do so on unpaid leave. Man-of-Jerusalem v. Hill, 769 F.Supp. 97 (E.D.N.Y. 1991). See also: Ansonia Bd. of Educ. v. Philbrook, 499 U.S. 60, 107 S.Ct. 367 (1986). [1992 FP 140-1]
     Employer not required to excuse sergeant from duty on Sabbath despite his sincere religious beliefs; termination upheld. Penn. St. Univ. v. Comm. Human Rel. Cmsn., 505 A.2d 1053 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1986).
     Federal appeals court concludes that witchcraft (practiced by the Church of Wicca) is a bona-fide religion. Dettmer v. Landon, 799 F.2d 929, 1986 U.S. App. Lexis 29400 (4th Cir.). {N/R}
     EEOC upholds termination of a Utah police officer who practiced bigamy. Religious discrimination complaint fails. EEOC Decision No. 85-3, 1985 EEOC Lexis 2 (Feb. 12, 1985). {N/R}
     Officer could not let his religious feelings interfere with his behavior to a citizen; discipline appropriate. Hershinow v. Bonamarte, 735 F.2d 264 (7th Cir. 1984).
     Article: “Soul Rebels: The Rastafarians and the Free Exercise Clause,” 72 Geo. L.J. 1605 (1984).
     Department must resort to breath tests when employee, accused of drinking, voices religious objections to blood test. Hall v. N.Y. Transit Auth., 435 N.Y.S.2d 543 (A.D. 1981).
     Federal court finds that U.S. Attorney General has standing to bring suit in behalf of private citizen; federal regulations provide relief. U.S. v. Co. of Hawaii, 473 F.Supp. 261 (D. Hawaii).
     Seventh Day Adventists do not have to join a closed shop union; Title VII supercedes bargaining laws. Tooley v. Martin-Marietta Corp., 476 F.Supp. 1027 (D. Ore. 1979).
     City wins civil rights suit of firefighter over time-off for religious holidays. U.S. v. City of Albuquerque, 545 F.2d 110 (10th Cir. 1976).
     EEOC rejects an employer's defense that an employee’s sect was not a recognized religion, noting that “intensely personal” convictions -- which some might find “incomprehensible” or “incorrect” -- come within the meaning of “religious belief.” EEOC Decision No. 71-2620, 1975 EEOC Lexis 61 (1975), relying on Welsh v. U.S., 90 S.Ct. 1792 at 1796 (1970). {N/R}
     A state has a compelling interest in enforcing a university rule requiring an x-ray of all new students for TB despite the beliefs of a Christian Scientist student. State ex rel. Holcomb, #31857, 39 Wash.2d 860, 239 P.2d 545, 1952 Wash. Lexis 259 (1952). {N/R}
     See also: Hairstyle & Appearance Regulations; Physical Fitness Standards; Union Activity and EEOC regulations at www.eeoc.gov/regs/


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