Contact: Roslyn Singer
Director of Communications, OU Advocacy
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, applauded today’s 8-1 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court reversing a lower court decision requiring applicants for employment to disclose their religious observance during a hiring interview or anytime during the hiring process. The high court held today that “an employer may not make a [job] applicant’s religious practice, confirmed or otherwise, a factor in employment decisions.”
The case is EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. and it arose out of a dispute between Samantha Elauf, a practicing Muslim who wears a religiously required headscarf, and Abercrombie, which asserted they could not accommodate her practice as it conflicted with their stores’ dress policy.
The Orthodox Union joined other leading Orthodox Jewish organizations in filing a “Friend of the Court” brief authored by noted attorney Nathan Lewin. The brief argues that compelling such disclosure during the hiring process permits a potential employer to discriminate against an applicant who would be entitled to a religious accommodation. Because such discrimination could occur during the hiring process, there would be no way for the applicant to prove that he/she was a victim of religious discrimination.
Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union stated:
“The Orthodox Jewish community applauds today’s ruling by the Supreme Court—as should Americans of all faiths. Today’s ruling not only affirmed basic protections against religious discrimination, it reaffirmed that the Civil Rights Act’s antidiscrimination provisions not only protect freedom of belief, but that, in the words of the Court, “religious practice is one of the protected characteristics that cannot be accorded [unfair] treatment and must be accommodated. This is a great day for religious freedom in the United States.”