Title 7 Religious Discrimination

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  • Topic: Conscientious objector, Religion, Faith
  • Pages : 5 (1811 words )
  • Download(s) : 107
  • Published : April 15, 2012
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Religious discrimination under Title VII as defined by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) involves treating a person unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs. The law forbids discrimination on the basis of religion in any and all aspects of employment. This includes hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, and benefits. Title VII also prohibits workplace segregation based on religion, such as assigning an employee to a non-customer contact position because of actual or presumed customer preference. Title VII also addresses reasonable accommodation in relation to religion. The law requires that the employer must reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the employers business. For example, if an employee needs to be off work on Sunday mornings to regularly attend church services it would be the responsibility of the employer to reasonably attempt to accommodate this need. An accommodation for this could include paying another employee to cover the Sunday morning shift, even if it requires paying overtime. Or the employer could hire an additional employee to be able to cover the shift. Since Title 7 of the United States Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 there have been several judicial decisions that have molded the way this law in interpreted and applied. The first such court case that I came across was the case of Welsh V. United States which brought into question what types of beliefs can be used to obtain conscientious objector status when being selected to go to war. In this case the prosecutor was convicted of refusing to accept induction into the armed forces; he did claim conscientious objector status but did not base this decision off religion. He did not claim to believe in a deity that would morally keep him from fighting in a war, he instead asserted his own personal moral opposition to any conflict in which people are being killed. He alleged that the sincerity of his belief should qualify him for exemption from military duty under the Universal Military Training and Service Act. The Act allowed only those people whose opposition to the war was based on religious beliefs to be declared conscientious objectors. However in a 5-3 decision the court allowed Welsh to be declared a conscientious objector even though his opposition was not based on religious convictions. The implication this case has on Human Resources Management is that HR personnel must be aware of the broad scope of beliefs that will be protected under Title 7. Whereas before this case only majorly defined religions such as Judaism and Catholicism would be protected you now see religions such as scientology seeking protection under the law. Another relevant case would be Seshadri v. Kasraian which established that an employee bringing a religious discrimination claim does not need to belong to an established church. Another case that has shaped this law and impacted human resource management was Campos v. City of Blue Springs. In April 1996 Campos was hired as a crisis counselor for the Blue Springs Police Department’s Youth Outreach Program (YOU). At the time she did not have the advanced degree as required by the written job description, but her supervisor told her that she would have until February 1997 to obtain her degree and guarantee her position. She was also guaranteed via verbal contract that she would be paid an extra $10,000 per year for support group work, she would be a team leader within three months, and she would be an assistant director within six months of starting her full-time employment. She began working in October 1996, enjoying her job until she disclosed to her supervisor that she observes tenets of Native American...