Seventh-day Adventist Church Hails “Watershed” Ruling

January 17, 2018

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit today issued a decision in favor of Richard Tabura and Guadalupe Diaz, former employees of Kellogg USA, who were terminated in 2012 for violating the company’s policy mandating work on Saturdays (the day Tabura and Diaz observed as their Sabbath).  

The plaintiffs later sued Kellogg for religious discrimination, charging that the company did not provide the religious accommodations mandated under Title VII.  The Tenth Circuit validated that claim, saying that in order for an accommodation to be reasonable that Kellogg would have to have provided employees the opportunity to avoid working on all Saturdays, not just some.

“The Seventh-day Adventist church is pleased with this watershed decision upholding the critically important right of Americans to adhere to their religious beliefs in the workplace,” said Todd McFarland, associate general counsel for the Seventh-day Adventist church. 

In its decision, the justices determined that Kellogg’s “neutral employment policy” – in which all employees desiring a day off were subject to the same requirements – may not rise to the level of reasonable accommodations where personal religious practices were concerned.  As such, the Tenth Circuit reversed the prior district court decision, sending the case back to the district court for trial.

(D.C. No. 1:14-CV-00014-TC-PMW)

ABOUT THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

For more than a century, the Seventh-day Adventist church has been a leading voice defending the rights of all U.S. citizens -- not just church members -- to follow their conscience in the practice of their faith.  In Abercrombie, the Adventist church led a friend of the court brief challenging the right of Abercrombie and Fitch to deny employment to a young Muslim woman for wearing a hijab.  The Supreme Court in 2015 ruled 8 - 1 in favor of the plaintiff’s claim that she should not have been denied a job for practicing her faith.

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