On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores Inc. that in order to prevail on a disparate treatment claim, a job applicant only has to show that her need for a religious accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision, not that the employer had knowledge of the need. Here, attorneys tell Law360 why the decision is significant.
Peter D. Stergios, McCarter & English LLP
“This will force—wrongly, in my view—employers to have discussions with job candidates and employees about whether workplace rules can be accommodated. The court’s analysis here is consistent with earlier holdings under Title VII where courts couldn’t find a basis for discrimination on the merits, but have found retaliation. However, this decision suggests a hidden presumption: that employers, without being told, must assume that certain dress might have a religious justification, requiring accommodation. But where does this all end? Nose rings? Tattoos? Abercrombie has hinted it won’t give up the fight, so it will be interesting what occurs on remand.”