Amicus Brief filed by Fifteen Religious and Civil Rights Organizations in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch, 575 U.S. __ (2015)

This brief, submitted by fifteen religious and civil rights organizations, addresses the notion that numerous conflicts often arise between job duties and religious convictions in areas of ritual law, including Sabbaths and other holy days, dietary restrictions, and dress for many Jews, Muslims, Christians and members of other faiths. These organizations point out that the headscarf (ḥijāb) is a particularly visible manifestation of a religious practice (more so than taking off holy days), and under the laws of the United States, it is entitled to no less a standard of reasonable accommodations, particularly in an era where online applications set the qualifications and in-person interviews may offer cause for discrimination if not for application of Title VII broadly. They further argue that “the Tenth Circuit’s reasoning gives the employer a perverse incentive to deny to religiously observant applicants any opportunity to discuss religion-based limitations on their appearance or scheduling. Under that reasoning, the employer’s ignorance automatically defeats a prima facie case, and thus effectively eliminates Title VII’s accommodation protections for those applicants. Under the Tenth Circuit’s position, then, observers of Sabbaths and other holy days will find themselves effectively excluded from a large and growing sector of the workforce that is hired through online applications (p. 10).” For reviews and commentary on the U.S. law implications of this case, see the SCOTUSblog Case Page.