Failure to Accommodate in the Workplace
Under Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII, two types of religious discrimination can be shown, disparate treatment or a failure to accommodate to prove Religious discrimination in the workplace. Abramson v. William Paterson College of New Jersey, 260 F. 3d 265, 281 (3d Cir. 2001).
To prove disparate treatment a plaintiff must show he or she (1) is a member of a protected class, (2) was qualified and rejected for the sought after position and (3) nonmembers of the protected class were treated more favorably. Id. There must also be evidence that the employer had knowledge of the plaintiff’s religion before the discriminatory acts. Morrison v. Access Services, Inc., No. 14-4685, 2014 WL 5286604 at *4 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 15, 2014). This type of suit is normally brought if there was a deserved promotion the plaintiff was passed over for because of religious discrimination. See, e.g., Abramson, 260 F. 3d 265; Baker-Bey v. Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections, No. 06-cv-5490, 2008 WL 2856397 (E.D. Pa. July 23, 2008).
To prove failure to accommodate a plaintiff must show he or she (1) has a genuine religious belief that conflicts with an employment requirement, (2) informed the employer of this belief and (3) was disciplined for failure to comply with the conflicting employment requirement. Protos v. Volkswagen of America, Inc., 797 F.2d 129, 133 (3d Cir. 1986). This suit is normally brought when there is a conflicting religious occasion with work and when an employee misses the work they were punished for it. Generally, the courts look to the “undue burden” that the employee would cause the company by missing work. Id. In Protos it was found that one employee in an assembly line would not alter production or place any burden on the company. Id. at 135.