Posts Tagged ‘religious discrimination’

Microblog 2008-12-27

Con artists, lawyers, and people who deserve a punch in the face:

  • The best stings, cons, and capers of 2008, as chosen by Wired.  Particularly clever: the FBI’s reverse con of dozens of identity thieves.  And who knew that phone phreaks still exist in the age of the internet?
  • Rod Blagojevich’s attorney seeks to compel testimony from high officials in the incoming administration to resist impeachment, while Patrick Fitzgerald asks Illinois lawmakers to hold back to avoid jeopardizing his criminal case.  Question: assuming Blagojevich is guilty, which is more important, that his impeachment proceed promptly, or that his criminal case proceed without political interference?  Alternative question: Which is more important, good (or at least less corrupt) government in Illinois, or another notch on Fitzgerald’s belt? Final alternative question: if the Obama team was more involved than its own report suggests, why not let things drag out and get the whole story?
  • A blog devoted to people who deserve a punch in the face (potentially offensive images, not-work-safe language). Special favorites: “B**** who talks on cellphone at Holocaust Museum” (yes, I have seen this), and “Passive aggressive emoticon user”;
  • The heroism and defiance of the crew of the USS Pueblo, released from North Korean captivity a little over forty years ago today.  If you click on a link anywhere in this post, make it this one (edit: bad link fixed);
  • Contrary to suggestions from Esquire, Barack Obama is unlikely to end the war on some drugs;
  • Is OSHA unconstitutional? Is seizing privately owned steel mills unconstitutional?  Legal Theory calls this paper “very highly recommended” and I agree;
  • Should Jewish (and for that matter Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist) military chaplains be required to wear a cross? The Navy says yes.  I say that if we’re going to bail out Chrysler we can afford a few pins which depict commandment tablets or crescents See below for a more interesting discussion from Ron Coleman and others, on something I completely misread;
  • The right to have children is fundamental, but we remove dogs from conditions that aren’t as overcrowded as those of the Duggar family of Arkansas;
  • Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds:  It’s not just the best book on economic bubbles and downturns ever written. It could be the title of this article on how a leading author on scientific skepticism was fleeced by Bernard Madoff. (Via Crime and Federalism);
  • Speaking of delusions, more details on the methods through which attorney Marc Dreier allegedly stole millions emerge in this Bloomberg story.

Walter Olson will be back soon enough, but I’ll note that I have come to appreciate just how good a blogger he is, and how hard Walter works in keeping this site going over the past few days.  Perhaps you might show him your appreciation? Vote early, and vote often.

Religious accommodation law

I expect to be blogging on that subject quite a bit at the new site I’ve helped launch, Secular Right. Today I’ve got a few thoughts up on the so-called Freedom of Choice Act and its potential impact on Catholic hospitals, so-called conscience laws entitling employees of clinics and drugstores to opt out of their job duties when asked to dispense contraceptives or assist in other reproductive services, the never-ending war over Christmas and tit-for-tat atheist displays, and more. (Dec. 7).

Pork-handling and religious accommodation, cont’d

Hasanali Khoja, a Muslim chef employed by London’s Metropolitan Police as a catering manager, has filed a discrimination claim after being asked to prepare breakfasts with pork sausages and bacon, saying he had been assured he would not have to handle the meat products. (David Barrett, “Muslim police chef claims religious discrimination over sausage and bacon breakfasts”, Telegraph, Nov. 2). The Minnesota meat-packing case discussed earlier is here.

EEOC settlement: pork-handling exemption, prayer breaks for Muslim workers

Minnesota: “In a landmark settlement that could change the way Muslims are treated in the workplace, St. Cloud-based Gold’n Plump Inc. has agreed to allow Somali workers short prayer breaks and the right to refuse handling pork at its poultry processing facilities.” The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had sued Gold’n Plump Poultry, Inc., along with an employment agency that worked with it, charging religious discrimination and retaliation on behalf of the Muslim workers. The employment agency had required applicants to sign a form saying that they would not refuse to handle pork products if the occasion arose at work. (Chris Serres, “Somalis win prayer case at Gold’n Plump”, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Sept. 10). “The timing of the [paid] added [prayer] break will fluctuate during the year so as to coordinate with the religious timing for Muslim prayers.” The two companies between them also agreed to pay $365,000 as part of the settlement. (Sept. 10; EEOC news release; via Workplace Prof Blog).

Microblog 2008-11-18

  • “Mark Cuban Buys SEC, Dismisses All Charges Against Himself” [Dateline Hollywood h/t @SecuritiesD] #
  • Ultra-close-up high-rez photos of spiders [Dark Roasted Blend] #
  • Overlawyered was down much of Tuesday, looks like problem was with a WP tag plugin exhausting memory #
  • New Bush regs: health providers must let religious employees pick and choose which care to assist with [Ronald Bailey, Reason “Hit and Run”] #
  • On behalf of his NYC fan base, huzzah for lawprof Richard Epstein who’s moving from U. Chicago to NYU [NLJ] #
  • Luggage that’s almost assured to draw scrutiny from TSA screeners in airport lines [Boing Boing via Happy Hospitalist] #
  • Entire 50-year run of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip now online [ via Feral Child] #
  • “Don’t close your blog’s comments” but read on, I cite some good reasons to close ’em [Amy Derby] #

“Stifling free speech — globally”

Canada’s speech-tribunal censorship, writ large? “A coalition of Islamic states is using the United Nations to enact international ‘anti-defamation’ rules”. Among entities to protected from such “defaming”: religions.

Susan Bunn Livingstone, a former U.S. State Department official who specialized in human rights issues and also spoke to the July 18 congressional gathering, said the developments at the UN are worrisome. “They are trying to internationalize the concept of blasphemy,” said Livingstone at the panel. She contrasted “the concept of injuring feelings versus what is actually happening on the ground — torture, imprisonment, abuse.” And, she added, “They are using this discourse of ‘defamation’ to carve out any attention we would bring to a country. Abstractions like states and ideologies and religions are seen as more important than individuals. This is a moral failure.”

The fact that the resolutions keep passing, and that UN officials now monitor countries’ compliance, could help the concept of “defamation of religions” become an international legal norm, said Livingstone, noting that when the International Court of Justice at The Hague decides what rises to the level of an “international customary law,” it looks not to unanimity among countries but to “general adherence.” “That’s why these UN resolutions are so troubling,” she said. “They’ve been passed for 10 years.”

(Luisa Ch. Savage, Maclean’s, Jul. 23, via Rick Sincere). More from the author at her Maclean’s blog, with hundreds of reader comments, and from Somin @ Volokh.

Claim: Abercrombie wouldn’t hire hijab wearer

The apparel chain, famed for the immodesty of its catalogues and advertising, has an “Abercrombie Kids” division; the allegation is that one of its Oklahoma store managers didn’t think an Islamic religious headscarf would fit the desired employee image. The local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says it has filed an EEOC complaint on her behalf. (PRNewswire/Breitbart, Jul. 31).

P.S. For another suit involving traditional Middle Eastern garb, see Jun. 17 (claim of right to wear loose-fitting garments around food machinery).

June 18 roundup

  • Are plaintiffs’ attorneys judge-shopping by filing and dismissing and refiling identical class-action complaints in the highly-publicized restaurant menu case against Applebee’s? [Cal Biz Lit]
  • You won’t be surprised that most of the nine worst business stories picked by BMI involve spoon-feeding by plaintiffs’ attorneys to a credulous press. [Business & Media Institute]
  • “There’s no justification whatsoever for the agency to take any kind of action,” said Julie Vallese, a spokeswoman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. “The claims being made about the dangers of shower curtains are phantasmagorical. It’s ridiculous.” Yeah, but the lawsuits are bound to happen anyway. [NY Daily News]
  • Jack Thompson stays in the news when U.S. Marshals pay him a visit after a letter to a judge. [GamePolitics (h/t J.L.)]
  • “A City lawyer who is demanding £19 million in compensation for work-place bullying faked a nervous breakdown to secure a larger payout, an employment tribunal was told.” [London Times via ATL]
  • Did defensive medicine almost kill a patient when doctor worries more about potential lawsuit than whether nurse could save patient’s life? Heck if I know, but the underlying medicine is debated in the comments. [EM Physician blog]
  • Hair-stylist fined £4,000 for “hurt feelings” after refusing to hire a Muslim stylist who wouldn’t show her hair at work. [Daily Mail (h/t Slim); earlier on Overlawyered]
  • Disturbing turn in the Adam Reposa disciplinary hearing over his obscene gesture in court: state bar introduces satirical magazine as evidence because they “thought it was indicative of Reposa’s lack of respect for the law and the court system.” [Texas Lawyer/] Mind you, this is the same Texas legal discipline system that refused to take action against Fred Baron and gave a slap on the wrist to the lawyers who tried to fake evidence in a product liability suit against Chrysler. As long as your priorities are straight.