U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number


2014 Term

Oral Argument Date

February 25, 2015


Questions Presented

Whether an employer can be liable under Title VII for refusing to hire an applicant or discharging an employee based on a "religious observance and practice" only if the employer has actual knowledge that a religious accommodation was required and the employer's actual knowledge resulted from direct, explicit notice from applicant or employee.

Case Updates

U.S. Supreme Court upholds EEOC workplace discrimination opinion

June 01, 2015

In its opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court held that to succeed in a disparate treatment claim, an applicant must demonstrate only that a need for accomodation was a motivating factor in the employer's hiring decision, not that the employer had knowledge of the need.

The case was reversed and remanded to the Tenth Circuit.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

January 28, 2015

In the coalition brief joined by the National Federation of Independent Business, the Chamber urged the Supreme Court to reject the EEOC’s novel argument in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch. The EEOC argued that, when an employer refuses to hire a job applicant because her religious practice violates a neutral workplace policy, that refusal is intentional religious discrimination, which can give rise to compensatory and punitive damages. The Chamber brief argued that intentional discrimination under Title VII, and the compensatory and punitive damages that go with it, have long been limited to discrimination that is motivated by a protected trait, not the application a neutral policy that is discriminatory in “effect.”

Melissa Arbus Sherry of Latham & Watkins LLP represented the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as co-counsel to the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.

The Chamber filed this brief jointly with the National Federation of Independent Business.

Case Documents