Thursday, April 26, 2018

Who's crying now that the jury has awarded $5 million in the Onionhead case?

The EEOC has reported that a unanimous jury returned a $5 million verdict yesterday against United Health Programs of America in the Onionhead case. As I explained previously, this case is largely premised on what Judge Matsumoto described as "reverse religious discrimination" claims, which alleged that the employer imposed its religious practices and beliefs on employees. Coverage of such claims under Title VII, however, is dubious at best, given the statutory language of the act and the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom. The same fallacy underlies claims that sexual orientation discrimination constitutes religious discrimination if motivated by the religious views of the person engaging in the discrimination. (See here.) I can't imagine that an anthropomorphic onion would be too happy about a $5 million verdict, so this may not be the end of the story.

This blog reflects the views solely of its author. It is not intended, and should not be regarded, as legal advice on how to analyze any particular set of facts.