Equal Employment Opportunity Comm'n. v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Employment Law
  • Date Filed: June 1, 2015
  • Case #: 14-86
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Scalia, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C.J., and Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, JJ., joined. Alito, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Thomas, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.
  • Full Text Opinion

To prevail in a disparate-treatment claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the applicant need only show that his need for an accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer's decision; actual knowledge is not required.

Petitioner was denied employment at a clothing store because the applicant wore a headscarf, which was inconsistent with the company's desired image and dress code. All headwear, religious or otherwise, violates the Respondent's dress code. The Petitioner did not provide the Respondent with actual knowledge of her need for an accommodation. The Petitioner was not hired, and sought legal remedy. The district court ruled in favor of Petitioner but the Tenth Circuit reversed. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether an employer must be informed of an applicant’s need for a religious accommodation to prevail on a disparate-treatment claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under this act, an employer may not make an applicant's religious practice, confirmed or otherwise, a factor in determining whether to hire an applicant. The Court reversed, and remanded for further consideration consistent with the Court's opinion.

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