Last Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores. Abercrombie & Fitch interviewed Samantha Elauf for a “Model” position. Ms. Elauf wore a hijab – as is her religious custom – to the interview, but did not request a religious accommodation and the interviewer did not inquire. Although Ms. Elauf was recommended for hire by the hiring manager, she was ultimately rejected by an Abercrombie District Manager because her hijab was “inconsistent” with Abercrombie’s then-current “Look Policy.” Ms. Elauf then filed a claim with the EEOC alleging religious discrimination.
The EEOC pursued the claim through trial, and a jury awarded $20,000 in damages. Abercrombie appealed and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that she had not explicitly requested a religious accommodation.
The Supreme Court has framed the issue it will decide narrowly:
Whether an employer can be liable under Title VII… for refusing to hire an applicant or discharging an employee based on a “religious observance and practice” only if the employer has actual knowledge that a religious accommodation was required and the employer’s actual knowledge resulted from direct, explicit notice from the applicant or employee.
In other developments:
- The Wall Street Journal examined whether workplace personality tests violate anti-discrimination laws.
- The EEOC filed another lawsuit over a wellness program. The employer in this case canceled an employee’s medical insurance when he failed to complete biometric testing and a health risk assessment.
- Jeff Nowak of FMLA Insights provided some best practices for light duty obligations under the FMLA and ADA.
- SHRM’s We Know Next published Q&A sessions with HR leaders headed to the HR Technology Conference.
- The New York Times commented that scheduling technology can give employees a sense of unease and a fear of irregular paychecks.
- Jonathan A. Segal assessed the risks of social media in recruiting.
Wage & Hour
- The U.S. Department of Labor announced its final rule requiring federal contractors to pay a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour.
- California enacted a law that provides more protections for temporary workers. The new law holds both the “client employer” and the staffing company liable for failure to pay proper wages.
Posted by: Kate Bischoff