ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What you should know about employment discrimination laws

Updated on June 10, 2015

Early June, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Muslim woman from Oklahoma who sued retailer Abercrombie & Fitch for discrimination. The case and decision was to bring up interesting questions, and set a precedent, on employer’s obligations under laws covering reasonable accommodation.

Veronica Laizure is a civil rights attorney with the Oklahoma-based CAIR, a civil rights group that protects the rights of Muslims that worked with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to defend the applicant, Samantha Elauf, in her case against Abercrombie.

In the case before the Court, the employer was placed with the burden to prove it tried to meet the test of reasonable accommodation. Under employment discrimination lawsuits, this standard implies that employers are supposed to meet the special needs of its employees so long as it doesn’t place a burden on the company. To receive this accommodation, the employee has to make an explicit reference for accommodation to receive one. What set this case apart was that Samantha Elauf was only an applicant being interviewed for a position and was wearing a visibly religious attire, the head scarf.

The Court ruled that since Ms. Elauf was wearing a head scarf during her interview, the employer should have known that a religious accommodation was needed, and refused to hire her because of her religious beliefs. In this case, the Court found that Abercrombie had discriminated against Ms. Elauf even though she had never mentioned she needed a specific accommodation.

Attorney Veronica Laizure explains that the reasonable accommodation test used in Ms. Elauf’s case would have been different for someone already employed by Abercrombie. In that regard, the employee would have already agreed to comply with company policy. The retailer is well known for selling a seductive image as part of its culture. When asked how this would apply to an employee who converts, she stated that it is the employee’s job to specifically state that an accommodation is needed.

As Ms. Laizure also points out, the Supreme Court has been wavering on the reasonable accommodation test in favor of employers lately, moving toward a more conservative application. This makes the Abercrombie case even more notable. Cases before the Court are typically decided on a case-by-case basis. There are no blanket laws available to determine what constitutes discrimination. What the Court looks at when deciding such cases is the type of employment, what demands are expected by the job, and how religious beliefs will affect those demands. There must also have been an explicit and clear reference to the discrimination by the offended party.

To prove discrimination has occurred against anyone already employed by a company, the Court will decide a case on what attorney Ms. Laizure describes as “smoking gun factors”. These include racial slurs, how many times the discriminatory behavior was reported, any subsequent action taken by the employer, how this discrimination affected the employee’s work performance, and workplace policies.

To make a case for discrimination, Ms. Laizure advises that all incidents of discrimination be documented. This includes where the incidents occurred, whether any racial slurs were made and by whom, and any conversations with management along with the solutions provided. And she repeated several times the need to explicitly state to management and Human Resources that the employee was being discriminated against and the type of discrimination that took place. It’s important to note that employees have 300 days from the date of the last discriminatory incident to file a case against employers.

While CAIR is a religious based group that works to defend the rights of Muslims, Ms. Lazure stated that people of other faiths, or no faiths, with strong cases will not be turned away. Instead, CAIR will work to guide these groups to the appropriate agencies and nonprofits for guidance. As a civil rights group, CAIR works closely with others within the same field to protect the rights of people. These include the EEOC, ACLU, and the First Amendment Center.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)