Articles Posted in religious discrimination

Recently, California employment law regulators filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against Silicon Valley technology company Cisco, Inc., accusing the multinational firm of failing to intervene in harassment experienced by an Indian-American employee by two of his managers because he’s from a lower Indian caste than they are.Orange County employment discrimination lawyer

The Indian caste system is an ancient one that divide’s the country’s Hindus into four different social hierarchy groups. Privilege is bestowed on the higher castes while prejudice and repression is sanctioned against lower castes. India’s constitution banned caste-based discrimination in 1950, but much like the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, enforcement has been a process.

As our Orange County employment discrimination attorneys can explain, neither Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 nor the California Fair Housing and Employment Act bars discrimination on the basis of one’s caste. However, it does protect against discrimination on the basis of religion. What regulators in the case against Cisco are alleging is that the caste system stems from the Hindu faith, and thus this type of discrimination can be covered against discrimination on the basis of religion.

The court’s position on this is being closely watched by many of the hundreds of thousands of Indian immigrants living and working in California. Continue Reading ›

The U.S. Supreme Court is slated to consider how federal employment discrimination laws should be applied to church-run schools. Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer

Although our Los Angeles employment discrimination attorneys can for certain how the verdict will go, but we do know that in recent cases weighing the church-and-state relationship, the court has tended recently to side with religious groups.

The cases that the court heart last month deal with another aspect of this same divide: The role the government can or should play in the regulation of religious institutions, particularly if they are receiving taxpayer funding. Both cases were filed by teachers in California Catholic schools accused of employment discrimination. The schools insist that the teachers’ positions fall under the court-established “ministerial exception” to job discrimination. The court will be asked to consider just how broad that exception really is and how to balance the competing interests of shielding workers from discrimination and steering clear of meddling in the affairs of religious organizations. Continue Reading ›

How much leeway should religious schools have under the ministerial exception when it comes to hiring and firing teachers whose beliefs don’t align with a church’s? The U.S. Supreme Court has said it will review a federal appellate court’s ruling that would allow two California teachers’ claims of workplace discrimination to move forward. workplace discrimination

Front and center will likely be the landmark 2012 case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Employment Opportunity Division. The SCOTUS ruled that the free exercise and establishment clauses of the First Amendment prohibit legal claims against church bodies by their employees who carry out “essential religious functions.” The ministerial exception is supposed to protect church decisions about its leadership from improper governmental influence under the 1st Amendment.

Plaintiff alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act after taking leave to treat her narcolepsy. She was fired for reported insubordination. The line between “minister” and others wasn’t clearly defined, but plaintiff did teach religion and led religious ceremonies. Thus, the court held, the ministerial exemption applied. Continue Reading ›

The City of San Diego is on the hook for $565,000 to a former employee who was reportedly demoted in retaliation for complaining about a supervisor who pressured him to become more religious and chastised him for being being a “non-believer” in the Christian faith. religious discrimination

According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, this same supervisor was the subject of complaints from other workers who were urged to attend church services, told non-believers would “go to hell” and expressed her view that those supporting same-sex marriages are not “children of God.”

The city’s lawyers agreed to settle the case rather than appeal an earlier federal jury verdict finding the city was liable for religious discrimination and retaliation, and ordering plaintiff’s damages and an award of attorney’s fees.

Evidence presented at trial showed that plaintiff filed a grievance against his supervisor for this overt religious pressure in the workplace, prompting an internal investigation. That investigation revealed the complaint had merit – but the city never took action against the supervisor. Instead, the city demoted the worker who filed the grievance, and then transferred him from the clerk’s office to the public utilities department. This new job site, he says, was far less desirable. On top of that, he was stripped of his supervisory title and left in a role with less upward mobility potential. Continue Reading ›

Los Angeles religious discrimination attorneys know that the disparate treatment received by Muslims has been on the rise the last two decades. What is also now being reported by the Pew Research Center is that many now also perceive a substantial rise in discrimination against those of the Jewish faith and nationality. religious discrimination employment attorney

The percentage of Americans saying Jewish people face “at least some” discrimination spiked by 20 percent just in the last three years.  It is now up to 64 percent. The share of those saying Jewish people face “a lot” of discrimination at work, in education and housing nearly doubled in that same time frame, going from 13 percent to 24 percent. Although views on this are varying depending on party lines (with Democrats being more likely than Republicans to indicate they’ve seen a spike in discrimination) both sides see a shift.

The survey was conducted this month among more than 1,500 adults, who also stated there is either some or a lot of discrimination in America against those who are Muslim, black, Hispanic, gay, lesbian and women. Muslims in particular are recognized as suffering discrimination, with more than 8 in 10 respondents agreeing they face some discrimination and more than half saying they face a lot. Among the nine groups about which respondents answered, this was the highest.

Jurors awarded $21 million to plaintiff in a religious discrimination lawsuit after she, a devout Christian, was fired from her hotel dishwasher position, in part for refusal to work Sundays. As our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, an employer who fails to make reasonable accommodations for a worker’s sincerely-held beliefs can be found in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. religious discrimination work

At the crux of whether an accommodation is reasonable is if the requested accommodation would impose an undue hardship, defined as a more than minimal burden on the business. A religious practice can be considered “sincerely-held” to a person even if it’s newly-adopted, not observed with consistency or varies from the commonly-followed tenants of the religion.

The 60-year-old mother-of-six plaintiff in this case, in addition to being a dishwasher and immigrant from Haiti, is part of a Catholic missionary church that aids the poor. According to her federal lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Miami, she informed her employer – a posh downtown hotel – that she informed her employer of the need for accommodation when she first started her job, and specifically cited her religious beliefs. Sunday, according to Christian religious texts, is supposed to be a day of rest and devotion to God. Continue Reading ›

It is illegal – in California and across the U.S., per the EEOC –  to discriminate against a job applicant based on their race, color, religion, gender (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy) national origin, age (over 40), disability or genetic information. Yet one of the most frequently-used forums to lure new hires has essentially been facilitating just that, according to critics and a few employment lawsuits filed by the National Fair Housing Alliance, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Communication Workers of America. Los Angeles employment discrimination attorney

Social media giant Facebook has faced years of criticism that it allowed companies advertising job listings to use key categories allowing employers to cherry-pick who their ads would be shown to based on age group, gender and race. The New York Times now reports Facebook has agreed it will stop doing this.

It’s not just prospective employees that have been complaining either. Those advertising credit and housing have also been allowed to screen their ads so that they would only show to a certain subset of social media users. (Housing and credit are also regulated by federal anti-discrimination laws that bar selection of applicants on such bases.) Continue Reading ›

In order to be successful in claiming employment discrimination in California, employees must first assert they are part of a protected class that received unfair treatment. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains that to discriminate means to treat someone less favorably and disparately, with federal protections extending to individuals on the basis of gender, religion, color, race, national origin, disability or age (over 40). In California, unlawful practices spelled out by the Fair Employment and Housing Act 12940 outlines protections for these classes, but also for:

  • Genetic information
  • Marital status
  • Gender identity/gender expression
  • Sexual orientation
  • Military or veteran statusemployment discrimination attorney Los Angeles

Part of the reason California’s additional protected classes matter is they go farther than federal law, giving unfairly-treated employees more options to pursue action.

As Los Angeles employment discrimination attorneys can explain, “protected classes” aren’t merely limited to minorities. But employment discrimination is often subtle – and doesn’t necessarily need to actually be a part of a protected class in order to be protected. Discrimination based on the perception of belonging or association with others in these classes can be actionable in California employment discrimination cases too.

Perceived Protected Class Employment Discrimination Continue Reading ›

For subjecting employees to religious discrimination at work with its haircut policy, package delivery company UPS has agreed to pay $5 million. Los Angeles religious discrimination attorneys understand company uniform policy was that males who interacted with customers maintain hair above collar length and never grow a beard (no facial hair below the lip). The problem with this, according to numerous former employees and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is that this rule conflicted with their faith, which required them to keep their hair and beards uncut.Los Angeles religious discrimination attorney

Business Insider reports the policy was specific to workers who had interactions with customers. Beards and long hair were allowed, however, for those employees who worked positions that were back-of-the-house. This put advancement limitations on employees from a number of religious faiths, including:

  • Islam
  • Rastafarianism
  • Orthodox Christianity
  • Sikhism
  • Native American religions

Each of these faiths has provisions that instruct men – either always or sometimes – to maintain long hair and facial hair. Applicants, employees and former employees were often forced to choose, the EEOC said, whether they should go against the teachings of their religion or whether they really wanted to land or keep that UPS job (or hoped to advance any further in it than stocking). Some applicants were told, “No haircut, no job.” Requests for accommodation by these men were rejected.  Continue Reading ›

One of the biggest challenges as a California religious discrimination attorney is to determine whether adverse employment action occurred in fact as a result of prejudice stemming from negative views of the employee’s faith or whether some other reason justified the firing. Orange County religious discrimination lawyer

Recently, the San Bernardino Superior Court determined after a six-week rial that a 44-year-old hospital warehouse employee had been harassed and ultimately fired by his supervisors specifically because of religious beliefs. Plaintiff was awarded $3.2 million in damages following a six-week long trial.

Defendant hospital still insists the reason for the worker’s termination had nothing to do with his religious beliefs, but rather because of alleged threatening conduct. The hospital still has the option of appealing the California religious discrimination lawsuit verdict, thought it’s not clear if they will.  Continue Reading ›

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