Mandatory quasi-religious practices enforced by an employer came under fire by the EEOC in a complaint that alleges the following:
- Defendants in the case required employees to participate in “Harnessing Happiness” programs, commonly referred to as “Onionhead.”
- Those employed by the defendants were required to light candles, pray and discuss personal matters with co-workers and management.
- Among other practices, employers were required to say “I love you” as a general practice in the workplace.
- Onionhead practices were observed throughout the day and at special meetings held each week. Pins, desk ornamentation, and other paraphernalia were required at workstations in support of the program.
- An Onionhead member visited the workplace once a month to discuss individual “divine plans,” “moral codes” and ways toward “enlightenment.”
- None of the required religious practices were related to work.
Workers who refused or objected to these practices were eventually terminated by the company.
Notes EEOC senior trial attorney Sunu P. Chandy, “While religious or spiritual practices may indeed provide comfort and community to many people, it is critical to be aware that federal law prohibits employers from coercing employees to take part in them.”
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employers subject to discrimination, including religious discrimination, in the workplace.
If you have questions about religious discrimination in your New York workplace, speak with an experienced labor law attorney in the city.
- Top Reasons You Need an Attorney Review of Your Severance Agreement - July 29, 2021
- Why Don’t Most Employees Report Misconduct at Work? - July 20, 2021
- Get the Best New York City Sexual Harassment Lawyer Near You - May 20, 2021
- 6 Pregnancy Rights You Need to Know - April 20, 2021
- Sex for Rent Schemes Hit Low-Income Renters - February 3, 2021
- Know your rights: Can you get fired if you refuse to take the COVID vaccine? - February 2, 2021
- How to Find an Experienced Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Los Angeles - February 2, 2021
- 6 Ways to Take Time Off When Emergency Leave Expires - December 24, 2020
- 12 Ways Sexual Harassment Targets Work from Home Employees - November 19, 2020
- Black Women Golfing Leads to Race Discrimination - November 16, 2020