California residents may have heard about the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that may have an impact on those who believe they have been subjected to employment discrimination based on their religious beliefs. A woman who had applied for a job at a location of Abercrombie & Fitch alleged that she was not hired because of the requirements of her Muslim faith that dictated that her head be covered with a scarf.
When she applied for a job in 2008, she was not hired because of the company’s policy that at the time prohibited head coverings. She was unaware of the policy, but she subsequently filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after she learned the reason for which she was not getting the job.
According to the company, the woman’s religion did not factor into the decision not to offer her employment. Headgear was not allowed to be worn by company workers, and that prohibition extended to the woman’s head scarf. Although it was not proven that there was an intentional attempt to commit religious discrimination, the Supreme Court still found in the woman’s favor due to the requirement that employers must provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s observance of religious customs, even in some cases when the employee does not explicitly request one.
The court held that that the plaintiff in a workplace religious discrimination case would only be required to show that the need for a reasonable accommodation was a “motivating factor” in the employer’s refusal to hire in order to find that it was a violation of Title VII under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Those who have been subjected to this type of prohibited behavior may wish to speak with an employment law attorney to determine whether any remedies are available.
Source: Politico, “Supreme Court rules against Abercrombie in hijab case”, Marianne Levine, June 1, 2015