MENU

Employment Law

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 6-16-15 featuring Michael Rosman
Michael E. Rosman June 16, 2015

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc, decided on June 1, involves Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits a prospective employer from (among other things) refusing to hire an applicant in order to avoid accommodating a religious practice that it could accommodate without undue hardship.  The question here is whether this prohibition applies only where an applicant has informed the employer of his need for an accommodation. The Tenth Circuit had ruled in favor of Abercrombie, concluding that an employer could not be held liable until an applicant (or employee) provided the employer with actual knowledge of her need for an accommodation.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Scalia, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Tenth Circuit by a vote of 8-1 and remanded the case for further proceedings.  A request for accommodation, or the employer’s certainty that the practice at issue exists, the Court explained, may make it easier to infer the requisite motive, but it is not a necessary condition of liability under Title VII.

The Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan joined Justice Scalia’s majority opinion. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.  Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion.

To discuss the case, we have Michael Rosman, who is General Counsel at the Center for Individual Rights.

Religious Accommodation in the Workplace: EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores - Podcast

Labor & Employment Law and Religious Liberties Practice Groups Podcast
Michael E. Rosman June 04, 2015

When is an employer liable or not liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for refusing to hire an applicant or discharging an employee based on a “religious observance and practice?”  We discussed the case decided on June 1, 2015 by the U.S. Supreme Court.on this Courthouse Steps Teleforum conference call.

  • Michael E. Rosman, General Counsel, Center for Individual Rights

Mach Mining v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 5-21-15 featuring Paul Mirengoff
Paul E. Mirengoff May 21, 2015

On April 29, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Mach Mining v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This case involves the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) Title VII duty to investigate claims of discrimination levied against an employer and to make good faith efforts to eliminate discriminatory employment practices before filing suit against that employer. The question this case asks is whether and to what extent a court may enforce the EEOC's duty to conciliate discrimination claims before filing suit.

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Kagan, the Court held that courts have the authority to review whether the EEOC has fulfilled its statutory duty to conciliate discrimination claims prior to filing suit against an employer. The judgment of the Seventh Circuit was vacated and remanded.

To discuss the case, we have Mr. Paul Mirengoff. Mr. Mirengoff is a retired attorney in Washington, D.C. and is a blogger at powerlineblog.com.

Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 5-13-15 featuring Kevin Govern
Kevin H. Govern May 13, 2015

On January 21, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean

The question in this case concerns the Federal Whistleblower Protection Act, which prevents the government from terminating an employee for revealing “any violation of any law, rule, or regulation” or “a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety”--unless that revelation is "specifically prohibited by law."  The question here is whether a federal air marshal’s disclosure that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had decided to cut costs by removing air marshals from certain long-distance flights was a disclosure “specifically prohibited by law.”

In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held by a vote of 7-2 that the disclosure in this case was not “specifically prohibited by law.” The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was affirmed.  The Chief Justice’s opinion was joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan. Justice Sotomayor issued a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Kennedy.

To discuss the case, we have Kevin Govern, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Ave Maria School of Law.

M&G Polymers USA v. Tackett - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 4-23-15 featuring Michael DeBoer
Michael DeBoer April 23, 2015

On January 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett. The issue in this case is whether, when courts interpret collective bargaining agreements in Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) cases, they should assume that silence concerning the duration of retiree health-care benefits means the parties intended those benefits to vest (and therefore continue indefinitely), or should require that it be stated explicitly (or at least stated in some way) that health-care benefits are intended to endure after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement. 

In an opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held unanimously that when determining whether retiree benefits should continue indefinitely after the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement, courts should apply ordinary contract principles.  Those principles do not support a presumption that the agreement reflects an intent to vest retirees with lifetime benefits. The judgment of the Sixth Circuit was vacated and the case remanded for further proceedings. Justice Ginsburg filed a concurring opinion, which Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. 

To discuss the case, we have Michael DeBoer, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Faulkner University School of Law.