Orthodox Union Urges SCOTUS to Overturn Decision Permitting Religious Discrimination in Hiring Process


us-supreme-courtThe Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America has called upon the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a decision from a lower court requiring applicants for employment to disclose their religious observance during a hiring interview or anytime during the hiring process. The high court is scheduled to hear the case in question, EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. this term.

The Orthodox Union joined other leading Orthodox Jewish organizations in filing a “Friend of the Court” brief authored by noted attorney Nathan Lewin. The brief argues that compelling such disclosure during the hiring process permits a potential employer to discriminate against an applicant who would be entitled to a religious accommodation. Because such discrimination could occur during the hiring process, there would be no way for the applicant to prove that he/she was a victim of religious discrimination. In the brief, Mr. Lewin noted his own experience with religious discrimination. Lewin recounts that he was the only Harvard Law Review member of his law school class who did not receive an offer of employment from any of New York City’s leading law firms. Since his resume included Yeshiva College, Mr. Lewin was often asked if he observed the Sabbath during interviews.

Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union stated:

“The ability to join the work force is foundational to anyone’s participation in society and contribution to the economic growth of the country, and an American’s religious observance must not be a barrier to entry. When Congress amended the Civil Rights Act to require employers to make reasonable accommodations for religious employees and potential employees, observant Jews across the country gained access to careers they otherwise would not have had. We urge the Supreme Court to overturn the decision of the lower court permitting employers to inquire about religious observance during the hiring process. Neither Sabbath observant Jews nor Americans of other faiths must be forced to choose between their career and their conscience.”

The full text of the amicus brief can be read here.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. This is a capitalist society. Companies that want our talents won’t have a problem with this and will benefit as a result. Way too much entitlement leshonos here from our people.

  2. Hmm.
    Let’s say there is this guy who happen to have studied in depth Tanach, and he knows Talmud too (available in any bookshop, with translation). He is not a yid. Should he be considered for a position of “Chair of Jewish Studies” at a secular university? Sure! Absolutely! And if he is the most qualified among the applicants, kol ha kavod. But, should he be allowed to apply for a Rabbi’s position? I think NOT!!! Wait a minute, what if he were halachically Jewish but happens to subscribe to j4j, which sure he won’t disclose the synagogue if he does not have to?

    And what about security personnel guarding synagogues or jewish schools, suppose those institutions get flooded by applicants who happen to be radical Muslims, and whose proficiency with weapons happens to be excellent and superior to those of other candidates? Does not seem to me an improvement that there’ll be an obligation to hire them, does it? Let me repeat – not a discretional possibility to hire a particular individual, but an obligation imposed by severe anti-discrimination laws forcing us to consider all candidates on an equal footing? Regardless of their religious beliefs? You think that’s a great idea? Methinks NOT.

    Employees and even potential employees (who can prove their added value with respect to an average candidate) already have strongly enforced constitutional rights about religiously-connected work restrictions. Not to mention that employers seek the best employees on the market and they will accommodate religious beliefs not because they are magnanimous and sweethearted, but because they want to hire and keep the best employees, as opposed to driving them towards their competitors’ firm. It seems to me all of that ought to be enough.

  3. Lewin’s experience is common. Luckily, I was never asked, and had to perform “heroic” stunts to survive with Shab completly intact. When I nixed attempts to fire SDA workers for “only” being 6/24, my “golden” status evaporated. Lewin knows very well that no such ruling is very significant. The devils will detect and get rid of you some point further down the line. “Economic adjustment”, “job reclassification” or some other such shtuss. Is it heroic to be a Marano? I think not. It makes one a navi-ha-BaXXal.