The Reader: SCOTUS to Hear Religious Discrimination Case; UAW Gets Backing in Effort to Unionize VW Plant; and Luring Lawyers to Rural America

Here are the Employment Law Reader Entries for October 6, 2014:

  • The U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Religious Discrimination Case - The U.S. Supreme Court has granted review in a religious discrimination case to determine whether an employer can be liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 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 the applicant or employee. In this case, the employer did not hire a Muslim woman who wore a headscarf to a job interview. Neither the subject of the headscarf nor the plaintiff’s religion was discussed during the job interview. Source: Employer's Advisor
  • UAW gets backing from German unions to organize VW - We continue to follow a story that we have previously reported on this blog - the attempts to unionize VW's Tennessee car plant. The UAW has gained two German allies in its bid to organize Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tenn. German union IG Metall and the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council signed a letter of intent Sept. 9 with the UAW to "Organize Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee workers as a UAW-represented facility and to begin the process of formation of a works council there. Source: Detroit Free Press;  Hat Tip: Robin Shea
  • In rural America, there are job opportunities and a need for lawyers - Not employment law per se but an interesting article regarding state governments cooperating with bar associations to bring lawyers to rural areas that desperately need legal services. Nearly 20 percent of Americans live in rural areas, but the New York Times says just 2 percent of small law practices are in those areas. Those still practicing law in small towns are often nearing retirement age, without anyone to take over their practices. And without an attorney nearby, rural residents may have to drive 100 miles or more to take care of routine matters like child custody, estate planning and taxes. For people of limited means, a long drive is a logistical hardship, requiring gas, a day away from work and sometimes an overnight stay. And census information shows that rural communities are disproportionately poor. All this creates a "justice gap," with legal needs going unmet because potential clients can't find a lawyer, or they can't afford the lawyers they can find. Source: ABA Journal