Last Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch, a religious accommodation case that arose when an applicant claimed that she was not hired because her religious beliefs require that she wears a hijab, or cloth hair cover. At issue in the case was what a plaintiff must show to prevail in such a case. The Court wrote, “To prevail in a disparate-treatment claim, an applicant need show only that his need for an accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision, not that the employer had knowledge of his need.” Abercrombie had asserted in its defense that the applicant did not ask for a religious accommodation and that her hijab would have violated the company’s dress code. Writing for an eight-Justice majority, Justice Scalia held that Abercrombie’s actual knowledge of the need for a reasonable accommodation was not before the court, only the retail store’s motive in rejecting an applicant it believed could require a reasonable accommodation due to her religious beliefs.
In other developments:
- Store detectives at CVS are suing the pharmacy chain for race discrimination, claiming they were directed to racially profile customers for theft investigation.
- OSHA issued guidance on transgender use of bathrooms in the workplace.
- A dental lab and manufacturer will pay $115,000 to settle claims with the OFCCP over systemic discrimination that included the use of a dexterity tests and gender stereotyping.
- The U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management suffered a massive breach of 4 million personnel records.
- Corporate Counsel asked if social media use could violate restrictive covenants.
- SHRM’s HR Magazine covered high-tech employee monitoring.
- Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a law making it illegal for employers to require employees to have and maintain social media accounts.
- Fast Company asked if our “brain waves” will replace passwords.
- While many employers wish they could jam employee’s personal cell phones, this science teacher learned that jamming calls is against the law.
- FMLA Insights covered a unique case on what constitutes notice of the need for FMLA leave.
- Staples entered into a settlement following a U.S. Department of Labor suit over its failure to notify and give FMLA protections to an employee.