Articles Tagged with religious discrimination lawyer

The question of religious liberties in schools is being pushed to the limits with a recent case out of the state of religious discriminationWashington. A former assistant coach at high school just outside of Seattle lost his job after he was asked to stop praying after football games on the field and he refused. He is now seeking help from the Supreme Court to overturn the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals‘s rejection of his appeal earlier this year. Plaintiff claims his religious and personal rights have been infringed upon by the district, according to Seattle Times.

The question boils down to where the line is for the personal rights of school employees when in the presence of students. It is well known that in public schools, school-sponsored prayer is not allowed, nor is the teaching of a religion. This would be a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prevents the passage of any law that would establish a religion. Schools are funded by tax dollars, making school employees government workers who are accountable to holding up constitutional liberties. Teaching about religions in general and their place in history is allowed. It is less clear, however, the ways in which public servants, including teachers, are allowed to express their personal religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court has addressed prayer in schools many times over. In 1962, the historic case of Engel v. Vitale arose when parents objected to prayer recitation at the beginning of the school day, even though it was voluntary. The court determined such a practice was unconstitutional because a state official was deciding on a religious message to share with students and encouraging its recitation. In 2000, the court ruled 6-3 in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe that prayer before a football game, even if led by students, was still the imposition of a religion at a school event in such a way that students who do not practice that religion would feel coerced into participation as a result of social pressures. Where, then, is the line between personal free speech and the enactment of a certain religion when it comes to students and teachers?

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Federal law protects the right to practice your religion as you see fit, with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee for their religious beliefs, as well as race, color, sex, or national origin. Employers must also provide reasonable accommodations for employees to practice their religion “unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee’s or prospective employee’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship.”religious discrimination

However, this is not the only way religion can affect the work place. Take for example a recent lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in which a discount medical plan provider and its parent company were recently ordered to pay 10 former employees a sum of $5.1 million, after plaintiffs claimed management within the company wanted them to participate in specific religious practices and allegedly retaliated against them when they refused, according to Newsday. Continue reading

Observance of some religious tenants are more visible than others, but none are legally allowed to be used as a basis upon which to deny employment or career advancement. But that’s exactly what is alleged to have happened to a Sikh doctor who alleges a medical organization denied him employment due to his religious appearance.doctor

Plaintiff is a licensed and board-certified physician practicing neurology in Kentucky. He is an observant Sikh who keeps the religiously-mandated beard and turban. He says the hiring process was initiated in 2014. A recruiter praised the doctor’s credentials and experience in a series of telephone interviews. However, after the doctor submitted photographs of himself, along with information about Sikhism, all future interviews were abruptly canceled. The job then was left vacant for an extended time.

In a federal religious discrimination lawsuit filed on his behalf by The Sikh Coalition, plaintiff asserts it was very clear to him he was denied a job at defendant medical group because of both his ethnic background and religious appearance.  Continue reading

A Pennsylvania health care provider agreed to settle with six of its former employees who alleged they were fired because they were denied a religious exemption from the company’s policy that required mandatory vaccination. The company agreed to pay $300,000, which will cover back pay and damages to the half dozen workers. sad

The company required workers to receive a mandatory flu vaccine, starting in 2013. The policy spelled out that workers who declined to receive the vaccine, either due to medical reasons or for religious purposes, could opt to wear a face mask instead while interacting with patients throughout the season when flu is the most prevalent.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed an employment lawsuit on their behalf, asserting that for the 2013-2014 flu season, the workers in question asked for a religious exemption to the policy, and yet were denied their request. Meanwhile, the facility did grant 13 vaccination exemptions that were requested by others on the basis of medical issues. Continue reading