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CIVIL RIGHTS-TITLE VII-RELIGION-REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION-MUSLIM HEAD COVERING

July 2nd, 2015 by Rieders Travis in Constitutional Law

E.E.O.C. v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, 135 S.Ct. 2028 (2015).  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits a prospective employer from refusing to hire an applicant in order to avoid accommodating a religious practice that it could accommodate without undue hardship.  The question presented is whether this prohibition applies only where an applicant has informed the employer of his need for an accommodation.  In this situation, the store did not hire the woman who wore a Muslim covering because it disagreed with their policy about no head coverings.  An employer is entitled to have a no-headwear policy as an ordinary matter.  But when an applicant requires an accommodation as an aspect of religious practice, it is no response that the subsequent failure to hire was due to an otherwise-neutral policy.  Title VII requires otherwise-neutral policies to give way to the need for an accommodation.

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