The United States Supreme Court dismissed cases involving President Trump’s executive order blocking people traveling to the United States from certain countries. A September order replaced the March order expanding the restrictions. Since the March order expired, the cases pending before the High Court were moot.
The Supreme Court also vacated the underlying Ninth Circuit opinion blocking the order. The effect is now there is no precedent, which the district court in Hawaii relied upon to block the September order. The Justice Department will be asking the district court to revisit his ruling now that the Supreme Court has acted.
The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. Abercrombie allegedly denied a muslim woman a job at a Tulsa, Oklahoma store during an interview. She was wearing a headscarf, which Abercrombie determined violated its “look policy.” The “look policy” at the time was classic East Coast collegiate style.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Abercrombie ruling the muslim woman never indicated she needed a religious accommodation as required under federal law. The EEOC argued Abercrombie was on notice that an accommodation was warranted because the woman was wearing the headscarf at the interview.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a business operating with less than 15 employees (religious institutions exempted) must provide an accommodation for an employee’s religious observances, unless doing so is an undue burden for the company. Examples of undue burdens could include, but are not limited to, costing the company more than ordinary administrative costs; workplace efficiency diminished in other areas of the business; infringing upon another employee’s job rights or benefits; impairing workplace safety; adding burdens on co-workers by forcing them to carry on the accommodated employee’s share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work; or conflicts with another law or regulation.
The High Court will decide the case next year.