The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has released new guidelines on religious garb and grooming in the workplace.Under the guidelines, Christians who choose to …
Does this mean Hooter’s restaurants will have to hire as waitresses Moslem women in full burkas or it will be discrimination?
One is inclined to think governmental regulation of dress and decor in the workplace is a bit much. But, of course, such an attitude would engender screams of “discrimination” because it might imaginably affect five people who wish to make an issue of it.
They are “guidelines”. Guidelines are not laws. So in reality, it means nothing.
I saw a recent story in the news where a Muslim man with a beard filed suit against his employer because they required beards to be no longer than 1/4 inch.
From my own experience, it seems that EEOC regs are way too intrusive. I never filled a job opening without having to deal with an EEOC complaint in some way. It just makes things a lot more difficult. In the early days of my career I was on an EEOC committee and quit it after a year because it was just too much nonsense to deal with.
From the associated EEOC release:
Employers covered by Title VII must make exceptions to their usual rules or preferences to permit applicants and employees to follow religiously-mandated dress and grooming practices unless it would pose an undue hardship to the operation of an employer’s business. When an exception is made as a religious accommodation, the employer may still refuse to allow exceptions sought by other employees for secular reasons.
Topics covered in the publications include:
*]prohibitions on job segregation, such as assigning an employee to a non-customer service position because of his or her religious garb;
*]accommodating religious grooming or garb practices while ensuring employer workplace needs;
*]avoiding workplace harassment based on religion, which may occur when an employee is required or coerced to forgo religious dress or grooming practices as a condition of employment; and
*]ensuring there is no retaliation against employees who request religious accommodation.
I think Hooter’s is probably safe. I also don’t think strip clubs will have to accommodate dancers in Burkhas.
On the other hand, though, a** for-profit** Evangelical Christian bookstore might not be as lucky. (After all, they can’t discriminate according to religion in hiring an employee…and I’d imagine that EEOC would rule in the employee’s favor)
In fairness, 99% of the Muslims I know – many of whom I consider friends – would not be “in your face” to such a degree as to try to force their way into a Christian bookstore…so this would likely be a hypothetical. Of course, 99% of the Muslims I know really want nothing to do with the advocacy organizations like CAIR and the like…so I don’t know if one of those activists would attempt to do so just to make a point.
Looks pretty mandatory to me. When they say “must” that undoubtedly means “must”, not “might want to consider”.
Under our current president the EEOC has made many rulings that were hostile to religion. The 9-0 Hosanna Tabor decision overturned one of them, and caused the EEOC not to enforce similar rulings in many other cases.
The activists allied with our current president see the Constitution as a collection of inconvenient suggestions.
While Federal regulations are not in the same category as laws passed by legislatures, they do have the force of law until overturned by the legislature or by a court or changed by the Federal bureaucracy.
Most laws passed by Congress grant to some or several Federal agencies the power to write regulations to implement the law. As in the Hosanna-Tabor decision, it takes a great deal of effort to fight a wrong interpretation by the bureaucracy, which in this case, thought it was more competent to determine who is a religious minister than the religious body involved.
I think an Evangelical bookstore, for-profit or not would be justified hiring only fellow believers as sales staff since they represent the owners and their beliefs. Otoh, they should not be allowed to hire only non-Christians as support staff.
I think a lot of folks are freaking out needlessly. Religious exemptions have been around either by law or custom, for a long time. The difference is that now we’re being asked to extend them to Muslims, Sikhs, &c.
I wish you were right. But you note I said “for profit”. A bookstore that was a part of a church could claim a religious organization exception (see below), but that wouldn’t apply to a for-profit enterprise. Please note this from an EEOC fact sheet:
*]Title VII prohibits disparate treatment based on religious belief or practice, or lack thereof. With the exception of employers that are religious organizations as defined under Title VII, an employer must not exclude someone from a job based on discriminatory religious preferences, whether its own or those of customers, clients, or co-workers. Title VII also prohibits discrimination against people because they have no religious beliefs. Customer preference is not a defense to a claim of discrimination.
*]Title VII also prohibits workplace or job segregation based on religion (including religious garb and grooming practices), such as assigning an employee to a non-customer contact position because of actual or assumed customer preference.
Again, though, let me stress that in my experience, I can’t picture any Muslim I know wanting to work in a Christian bookstore in the first place (especially the families I know where the women in the families wear a hijab). But they are also not big fans of CAIR…and I can very easily picture a group like CAIR trying to set up such a circumstance so that they could get face time on the news networks to complain (again).
ON EDIT: I also can’t picture most atheists that I know having any desire to work in a for-profit evangelical bookstore…but, again, there are few trolls out there in the real world (thankfully a small, but very noisy, minority) who would do so just for kicks.