Accommodating Religious Practices at Work: Patterson v. Walgreens

To what extent may an employee’s religious practices be legally protected in the workplace?  When former Walgreens employee Darrell Patterson refused to violate his Saturday Sabbath observance for a mandatory training, Walgreens fired him.  Patterson sued in federal court, lost at the trial and appellate levels, and is now seeking relief from the United States Supreme Court. Within the employment discrimination context, this religious liberty case raises critical legal issues for employers about (a) how much “reasonable accommodation” is required for employees’ religious practices and (b) what amounts an “undue hardship” for employers, in both concrete and theoretical terms.

Unemployment Tax Victory, And the Government's Role in Defining Religion

What is religious enough for the government to recognize a ministry’s tax exemption? Within the unemployment tax context, Illinois and other state laws exempt churches and “church-controlled” nonprofits “operated primarily for religious purposes.” If they meet either definition, then they are not “employers” for unemployment purposes and therefore need not participate in the state unemployment system. But how does the government determine whether the “primarily” religious element is met?