Supreme Court Will Hear Three Employment Discrimination Cases

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The United States Supreme Court held its traditional first of October meeting to determine which cases it will hear during the 2014-15 term.  The Court has accepted three employment discrimination cases.

Young v. United Parcel Service.  The question is whether the employer has to accommodate pregnant employees who are unable to handle some of the physical requirements of the job, i.e. UPS employees who have to carry heavy boxes.  The UPS employee has appealed to the Supreme Court claiming that her needs while pregnant were not accommodated by UPS’s “pregnancy-blind policy”; the policy limited accommodations to employees who were injured on the job, who were defined as “disabled” and who had lost their DOT certification.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc.  “Did Abercrombie and Fitch discriminate against a Muslim job applicant when she was rejected based on her desire to wear a head scarf at work?”  The significant question is whether the employer has to have “actual knowledge” that a practice is religious before it is required to accommodate the practice in the workplace.  Abercrombie claims that the job applicant did not explicitly indicate that her scarf had religious meaning.

Mach Mining, LLC v. EEOC.  This case involves the extent to which courts may enforce the EEOC’s duty to conciliate cases pre-litigation.  Mach moved for summary judgment alleging the EEOC had failed to fulfill its statutory duty to conciliate the case in good faith.  There is a split among the Appellate Circuits as to whether or not the EEOC’s duty to conciliate is reviewable by a court.