Supreme Court Rules Against Abercrombie & Fitch on Religious Discrimination Appeal

It has become a stirring and rare event for the Supreme Court to hand down a decision protecting or strengthening employee rights, but low and behold, it has occurred once more - with a decision from Justice Scalia:

"To prevail in a disparate-treatment claim, an applicant needshow only that his need for an accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision, not that the employer had knowledgeof his need. Title VII’s disparate-treatment provision requires Elaufto show that Abercrombie (1) “fail[ed] . . . to hire” her (2) “because of ” (3) “[her] religion” (including a religious practice). 42 U. S. C. §2000e–2(a)(1). And its “because of” standard is understood to mean that the protected characteristic cannot be a “motivating factor” in an employment decision. §2000e–2(m). Thus, rather than imposing aknowledge standard, §2000e–2(a)(1) prohibits certain motives, regardless of the state of the actor’s knowledge: An employer may not make an applicant’s religious practice, confirmed or otherwise, a factor in employment decisions. Title VII contains no knowledge requirement. Furthermore, Title VII’s definition of religion clearly indicates that failure-to-accommodate challenges can be brought as disparate-treatment claims. And Title VII gives favored treatment toreligious practices, rather than demanding that religious practices betreated no worse than other practices." (continue reading)