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Labor: Separation of church and work

Untangling the recent wave of religious discrimination claims

Despite the fact that our nation was founded on principles of religious freedom, we are not a very tolerant society (though we like to think we are). Instead, we are polarized. More and more, we live on the fringes with little tolerance for those whose viewpoints differ from our own. For example, just last year, Lowe’s pulled its ads from a TLC reality show, “All American Muslim,” and millions boycotted Chick-fil-A based on its public stance against gay marriage.

Given the level of polarization in our society surrounding issues of belief and religion, we should not be surprised that religious discrimination claims in the workplace are trending upward. In 2011, charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging religious discrimination hit an all-time high of 4.2 percent (4,151 total charges). In the past decade, religious discrimination claims with the EEOC are up an astounding 50 percent. For the sake of comparison, consider that overall, charges filed with the EEOC are only up 18 percent over the same 10-year period.

Contributing Author

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Jon Hyman

Jon Hyman is a partner in the Labor & Employment and Litigation groups at Cleveland law firm Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, a Meritas member firm....

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