Tag Archives: Title VII

Is Religious Freedom on a Collision Course with Newly Gained Civil Rights?

Since the United States Supreme Court issued Obergefell in 2015, there have been dark predictions that religious freedom and other, more recently gained, civil rights protections are on a collision course. Recent developments might cause this course to run through the employment arena. In August, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) issued a directive to “incorporate recent developments in the law regarding religion-exercising organizations and individuals.” Specifically, the Directive aims to update federal policy to align it with recent Executive Orders and Supreme Court decisions.

Is Gender Identity a Protected Class?

The Obama era Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) would have said, “YES.”  Yesterday, the Trump Administration’s DOJ answered that question with a “NO,” reversing the federal government’s stance regarding whether gender identity is a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Attorney General Jeff Sessions communicated in a letter to all U.S. Attorneys on October 4, 2017 that Title VII does not cover bias based on transgender status.  The letter reverses a position taken by former Attorney General Eric Holder in December 2014.  Attorney General Sessions wrote, “This …

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One Racial Slur is One Too Many, Rules Third Circuit

Is a single racial slur by an employee’s supervisor enough to create a hostile work environment under § 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866?  The answer is yes according to the Third Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in Castleberry v. STI Group, No. 16-3131 (3d Cir. July 14, 2017). In Castleberry, two African American males were employed as general laborers.  They claimed that while working on a fence-removal project, their supervisor threatened to fire them if they “n[****]r-rigged” the fence.  The incident was confirmed by their coworkers and reported thereafter by the employees to a superior.  Two weeks …

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I Resolve . . . Not to Get Sued for Religious Discrimination and Harassment

As we close the books on 2015, fueled in no small part by the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the immigration crisis in Europe, our own crazy election-cycle politics, etc., etc., there is a palpable anti-Muslim rhetoric that’s plowing its way through social media and, quite possibly, making its way right to your company water cooler. And, as if we needed more fuel for the fire, religious awareness (and sometimes, real or perceived religious intolerance) is heightened during the holiday season. It’s an employer’s perfect [snow]storm. As put mildly by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), terrorist …

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