U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Case Status


Docket Number


Oral Argument Date

October 24, 2005


Case Updates

Seventh Circuit addresses religious discrimination and employee affinity groups

December 30, 2005

Agreeing with NCLC, the Seventh Circuit held that that General Motors did not violate the anti-religious discrimination provisions of Title VII. Judge Ann Claire Williams stated that “General Motors’s Affinity Group policy treats all religious positions alike—it excludes them all from serving as the basis of a company-recognized Affinity Group.” Judge Williams further noted that Title VII requires equal treatment within categories, not “cross-categorical comparisons.”

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

June 17, 2005

To promote diversity, General Motors sponsors special groups for racial and ethnic minorities, veterans, and disabled individuals, but specifically prohibits groups that advocate religious or political positions. In this case, the plaintiff argued that his religious faith is his main identifying characteristic and, therefore, like race, gender, or sexual orientation. NCLC urged the Seventh Circuit to affirm the district court's ruling dismissing this case. NCLC argued that GM’s decision to disallow company-sponsored employee affinity groups that promote positions concerning religion does not violate the anti-religious discrimination provisions of Title VII. This is not discrimination based on the employee's religion, as the ban applies to any group that seeks to advance a particular position about religion; it is not dependent upon any particular religious affiliation, and does not distinguish between any religious denominations.

Case Documents