Courts don’t tolerate religious harassment, but they won’t punish an employer for occasional lapses in good sense, either. That’s the lesson of the following case.
Recent case: Hnan is a Muslim woman. When a co-worker told her she was “dirty” and should go “to hell,” she assumed she was being targeted because of her religion. She sued, alleging religious harassment and added that Christian gospel music was sometimes played in the workplace.
The court tossed out her case. It said the music wouldn’t necessarily be offensive to a reasonable employee and the isolated comments, though offensive, might not have been religiously motivated. Those just weren’t reason enough to support a federal lawsuit. (Alhallaq v. Radha Soami Trading, No. 11-15554, 11th Cir., 2012)
Final note: Consider a policy banning radios in the workplace. While music may not be a problem, political talk radio may.
- Court: EEOC paperwork foul-up doesn't cancel right to sue under N.C. law
- Best defense against harassment complaints: Robust policy and prompt investigations
- Best way to stop failure-to-promote lawsuits: Include qualifications in job announcements
- 'Business necessity' may become new ADA focus
- Documentation is key to winning bias lawsuits--along with clear policies, thorough investigations