Goldman Sachs firing
VOLOKH at mail.law.ucla.edu
Thu Feb 10 11:42:45 PST 2000
I agree with Michael that firing you because I think you have bad
religious beliefs is religious discrimination. But in this situation, it
seems eminently plausible that the boss fired the employee because of the
conduct, and would have fired the employee because of the conduct regardless
of what he understood the employee's religious beliefs to be. The burden of
proof is still on the plaintiff, so unless the plaintiff has some evidence
that the conduct claim is pretext for firing based on the plaintiff's
perceived religious belief, it seems the defendant should win.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael MASINTER [SMTP:masinter at NSU.ACAST.NOVA.EDU]
> Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2000 11:33 AM
> To: RELIGIONLAW at listserv.ucla.edu
> Subject: Re: Goldman Sachs firing
> I am not sure that the distinction below always works. If I fire you
> because I disapprove of your conduct, and the root of my disapproval lies
> in my religious beliefs, I do not violate Title VII (assuming no
> accommodation issue is posed). But if I fire you because I infer from
> your conduct that you do not share my religious belief that one ought not
> engage in that conduct, I violate Title VII. Distinguishing the former
> from the latter can be tricky in a world in which we regularly infer
> belief, or lack thereof, from conduct. I take that to be the reason why
> Venters v. City of Delphi, 123 F.3d 956 (7th Cir. 1997) provoked comment
> on this list when it was decided.
> Michael R. Masinter 3305 College Avenue
> Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, Fl. 33314
> Shepard Broad Law Center (954) 262-6151
> masinter at law.acast.nova.edu Chair, ACLU of Florida Legal Panel
> On Thu, 10 Feb 2000, Volokh, Eugene wrote:
> > This issue has come up before, but I think the answer is the
> same as
> > it was before: Religious discrimination law bars discrimination against
> > employee because of the *employee's* religion or religious practices.
> > says nothing about discrimination because of the *employer's* religion.
> > An employer who fires an employee for having an extramarital
> > with a coworker is acting lawfully (assuming no contract or law that
> > discrimination based on lawful outside-the-office conduct) whether (1)
> > employer acts this way because he thinks such affairs are bad for
> > (2) the employer acts this way because he thinks such affairs violate
> > secular moral code, or (3) the employer acts this way because he thinks
> > affairs violate his religious moral code. The three situations are
> > identically under the law, and they should be.
> > What's more, if the law were read as allowing reason 2 but
> > forbidding reason 3, this would *itself* be unconstitutional religious
> > discrimination, since it would outlaw conduct that's motivated by
> > but permit exactly identical conduct that's motivated by secular
> morality --
> > a Free Exercise Clause violation per Lukumi Babalu Aye.
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Clerk2_DNE at NYSD.USCOURTS.GOV [SMTP:Clerk2_DNE at NYSD.USCOURTS.GOV]
> > > Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2000 8:55 AM
> > > To: RELIGIONLAW at listserv.ucla.edu
> > > Subject: Goldman Sachs firing
> > >
> > > On the subject of religious rights of employers and
> > > employees, consider this story in today's New York Times,
> > > page c-14:
> > >
> > > "A former bond trader for the Goldman Sachs Group
> > > contends in a lawsuit that the investment bank fired him
> > > last year because he was having an extramarital affair with
> > > a co-worker, and his boss had religious objections to the
> > > relationship . . . .
> > >
> > > The trader sued Goldman . . . complaining that he
> > > was the victim of sex and religious discrimination [and]
> > > that because Goldman accepted his entertaining clients at
> > > strip clubs, he believed an interoffice romance would be
> > > tolerated . . . .
> > >
> > > Mr. Hudson says in the suit that he believed the
> > > relationship did not violate the firm's rules because there
> > > was no prohibition in the employee manual and because he had
> > > been encouraged by senior Goldman officials . . . to take
> > > married men to strip clubs. He contends that the firm
> > > endorsed such entertainment by reimbursing employees for
> > > expenses incurred in the clubs.
> > >
> > > Mr. Hudson contends [that a senior Goldman official]
> > > made clear that he disapproved of extramarital affairs on
> > > religious grounds. After discussing the affair with [the
> > > official] one day last May, Mr. Hudson contends, he was
> > > fired."
> > >
> > > Any thoughts?
> > >
> > >
> > > Sam Levine
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Religionlaw