snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » Archived Forums » Legal Affairs Archive » Woman Sues for Being Fired for Piercing (Page 2)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!   This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: Woman Sues for Being Fired for Piercing
reflex
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for reflex   E-mail reflex   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
It really comes down to what one might be required to do by thier religion. I can't where a shirt that says 'Jesus hates fags' to work just because "that's part of my religion".

Not sure that any particular religion *requires* one to wear such a shirt.

Regardless, your argument is that it's about what one chooses to do, rather than what they have to do? Or are you mixing the two together?

What if the employee was scarred or disfigured by a horrible accident that left the side of their face burnt or something like that, and a potential employer refused to hire them because of it. Is that wrong?

Then, what if the employer *did* hire the person, but it was later discovered that the perosn acquired the scar because of something he did to himself (like apply a hot soldering iron to their face) - is this cause for dismissal?

What if the person did it because they got drunk and thought it would be fun (or answered the iron when the phone started ringing)?

Or, what if they were to do it because they were required to do so by their religion?

Where is the line drawn? Why are earings perfectly acceptable but eyebrow rings are not? What if the employee was Indian and was required to wear a nose ring due to her culture?

ETA: What if those disfigurements were done during the scope of the persons employment?

--------------------
The opinions expressed herein do not represent those of any rational human being and are solely for the purpose of entertainment.

Posts: 487 | From: Brick City (Newark), NJ | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
damsa
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 1 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:


Where is the line drawn? Why are earings perfectly acceptable but eyebrow rings are not? What if the employee was Indian and was required to wear a nose ring due to her culture?

ETA: What if those disfigurements were done during the scope of the persons employment?

Culture and personal looks are not protected by Title VII. Although National Origin and Disability are. So in this, an employer may fire these people for not adhering to the dress code or even with disfigurement to the face.

Although if the disfigurement becomes a disability then they get Title VII protection.

IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
dknjms
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 1 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Posted by OTL
Why do I get the feeling that she was told about the policy, went home, did some Internet searching, found out about CBM, then decided to claim it as her religion? (Like, she was looking for any religion that allowed body piercing so she could claim religious persecution, and found the mother lode, so to speak?) Or am I just being too cynical?

It has been mentioned that she first made the company aware of her religion before she was actually fired. From the Church of Body Modification website :

(http://www.uscobm.com)

Will becoming a member in the Church of Body Modification save me from being fired from my job for visual modification?
In the United States different states have different rights to release an employee for any reason ("right to work"). If it is apparent that the reason you are being released from your workplace is because of your modifications this would be considered a violation of your rights and you have a solid case against the employer... if you can prove that visual body modification the reason you are being released, YES you are protected in the United States.

I just got fired for a piercing, if I join, can you help me get my job back or sue my employer?
NO. This is not a scam. You can't join just to protect your job - if you don't believe in the spiritual aspect we can not ethically offer you protection under the Church.

It really comes down to what one might be required to do by thier religion. I can't where a shirt that says 'Jesus hates fags' to work just because "that's part of my religion". Posted by Beachlife

I can't really see why not, there seems to be nothing to sugguest that this is illegal. It is perfectly alright to have websites that express this, carry signs that say this, erect public monuments that say this, record an album that says this, and manufacture and sell a t-shirt that says this. Since you would be making clear that you were wearing this t-shirt in worship of God along the Christian lines of faith you would probably find that you received much more public support and probably legislative support as well. How could the law punish you for expressing this sentiment as part of your religion when the President himself persecutes and derides homosexuals far more by the very same reasoning?
On the subject of jewellery though, if you anted to wear a cross around your neck no-one would be likely to say anything at all about it.

IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Crono
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Crono   Author's Homepage   E-mail Crono   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I recently read an HR newsletter that mentioned this case. In fact, it was the main article in the newsletter since the outcome of this case could significantly affect HR policies for many companies.

It is common for companies to have appearance standards that apply to clothing, hair, and piercings. If a person must violate one of these standards for religious beliefs, it is the employee's responsibility to alert the employer of that fact. The employer must offer reasonable accomodation if possible, but typically, the employer is not required to let the employee violate dress code completely.

For example, if the company has a dress code that the employee cannot follow due to religious beliefs, the employer should attempt to modify the uniform to something that is acceptable to the employee. However, the employer is generally now required to do a way with the uniform completely.

If Costco has an appearance code that prohibits piercings, it probably is not required to abandon that policy. That's why most people don't think that the woman in this case will win. However, if she does, it would make it much more difficult for companies to have policies like this. In HR law, pretty much any sincerely held belief can be considered a religion, so membership in a church or other organization is not required. If the woman were to win the case, it would be much more difficult to enforce a dress code or appearance policy against piercings because it would mean that they must be accepted even if different accomodations cannot be made.

I think it's a rather superficial policy myself. Eyebrow rings are fairly common nowadays and are pretty well accepted. However, I wouldn't go as far as to say that a company shouldn't be able to prohibit them if it wants to.

--------------------
Disclaimer: I might know something about everything, but I don't know much about anything.

Posts: 293 | From: Nashville, TN | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
OTL
The First USA Noel


Icon 07 posted      Profile for OTL   E-mail OTL   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dknjms:
quote:
Posted by OTL
Why do I get the feeling that she was told about the policy, went home, did some Internet searching, found out about CBM, then decided to claim it as her religion? (Like, she was looking for any religion that allowed body piercing so she could claim religious persecution, and found the mother lode, so to speak?) Or am I just being too cynical?

It has been mentioned that she first made the company aware of her religion before she was actually fired.
Actually fired? Technically, yes. But she didn't make them aware until after she was informed of the policy. (Specifically, she was told Costco would be enforcing the policy, and she mentioned her religion the next day. If she really was a member of the CBM, why didn't it come up when she was told of the policy? If my employer told me of a policy that would violate my religion, I'm telling them right then and there, not waiting until the next day.)

It's that "next day" thing that makes me think she didn't even know about CBM until Costco made an issue of the piercings.

(Also, CBM has no record of her applying for membership until June 27, 2001 - the day after she told Costco of her supposed religious affiliation, and two days after being informed of the policy. She claims her initial application (in March 2001) wasn't processed due to computer error, but there's no proof of that.)

--------------------
"I've allowed my love of gravy to distract from my prescriptivist linguistic crusade!"
-T-Rex, Dinosaur Comics

Posts: 726 | From: New Jersey | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
MarkS
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 1 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
The government has rules about what is and is not considered a religion. This church is federally recognised as a religion.

No, I don't think it is - at least not yet, anyway. To repeat the info Arr, tea posted earlier from their website:

quote:
Yes. The Church of Body Modification has completed all the steps to be a legally recognized Church in the United States (Church of Body Modification has federal recognition). We are currently awaiting nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service.
They may claim to have "federal recognition", but it sounds to me like they've just completed the paperwork and are waiting to hear if their application for non-profit status has been approved.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Night Watchman
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Night Watchman         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I laughed when I read Shamrock's internym: "go forth and sin some more", then looked at the post count : 666.

Eerie.

Posts: 31 | From: Next Door | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
DemonWolf
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for DemonWolf     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MarkS:
quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
The government has rules about what is and is not considered a religion. This church is federally recognised as a religion.

No, I don't think it is - at least not yet, anyway. To repeat the info Arr, tea posted earlier from their website:

quote:
Yes. The Church of Body Modification has completed all the steps to be a legally recognized Church in the United States (Church of Body Modification has federal recognition). We are currently awaiting nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service.
They may claim to have "federal recognition", but it sounds to me like they've just completed the paperwork and are waiting to hear if their application for non-profit status has been approved.

you're arguing semantics now. They are "federally recognised" meaning that they receive protection from persecution. They are now waiting for a "tax exempt status" which really has nothing to do with the thread.

If the girl in the OP was a member in good standing of this church before she was notified of Costco's intent to inforce the dress code, she should be protected. If she joined after, just to protect her job, she's on her own. As it should be.

--------------------
Friends are like skittles: they come in many colors, and some are fruity!

IMJW-052804

Posts: 7224 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


Icon 1 posted      Profile for BeachLife   Author's Homepage   E-mail BeachLife   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Having just read Title VII, I'd say, assuming that her is considered a valid religion, the employer needs to offer her a job in the back room where customers don't see her. If they don't have such a job they are off the hook if they can prove that their policy has a solid business foundation. I don't think that's too hard to do.

The young lady better hope she wins big, because legal or not between her eyebrow ring and her lawsuit she might have a tough time finding employment elseware.

--------------------
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

Posts: 12094 | From: Michigan | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
DemonWolf
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for DemonWolf     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
Having just read Title VII, I'd say, assuming that her is considered a valid religion, the employer needs to offer her a job in the back room where customers don't see her. If they don't have such a job they are off the hook if they can prove that their policy has a solid business foundation. I don't think that's too hard to do.

The young lady better hope she wins big, because legal or not between her eyebrow ring and her lawsuit she might have a tough time finding employment elseware.

I think that the reason that the girl has lost so far is because she joined the churh after being informed of her employer's intent to enforce the dress code. Typically, this protection is only offered to people who can show that the religious beleif was held prior to disciplinary action.

If my employer tells me that I can no longer wear a hot on the job, it is too late to convert to a religion that requires me to wear one.

Anecdote: I went to school with a kid who was the only boy allowed to wear a baseball cap in class. He was muslim and his parents felt that their religion required him to keep his head covered. Fortunatly (his words, not mine), he was able to convince them that a ball cap was just as effective s the traditional coverings that his father preferred (I don't recall the name, but it looked like a turban to me). After having to explain this, numerous times, to his teachers they finally stopped pestering him to remove his hat. [Big Grin]

--------------------
Friends are like skittles: they come in many colors, and some are fruity!

IMJW-052804

Posts: 7224 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
MarkS
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 1 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
quote:
Originally posted by MarkS:
quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
The government has rules about what is and is not considered a religion. This church is federally recognised as a religion.

No, I don't think it is - at least not yet, anyway. To repeat the info Arr, tea posted earlier from their website:

quote:
Yes. The Church of Body Modification has completed all the steps to be a legally recognized Church in the United States (Church of Body Modification has federal recognition). We are currently awaiting nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service.
They may claim to have "federal recognition", but it sounds to me like they've just completed the paperwork and are waiting to hear if their application for non-profit status has been approved.

you're arguing semantics now. They are "federally recognised" meaning that they receive protection from persecution. They are now waiting for a "tax exempt status" which really has nothing to do with the thread.

Semantics matters quite a lot when you're talking about the law.

As I understand it, becoming a "church" generally involes 2 things: Incorporating your organization as a non-profit entity, and gaining tax-exempt status under US Code 501(c)(3). Now, you don't HAVE to apply for tax-exempt status, but it's usually done, and for reasons other than simply not having to pay taxes, as discussed below.
(Also note: An organization can be an unincorporated association and still have legal status, but since you must be incorporated to apply for federal tax-exempt status as this church claims to have done, that's not relevant to this discussion)

Back to step one - Incorporation: All this does is grant you legal status as a non-profit organization, one which you are calling a church. This does not, in and of itself, afford you any legal protections under the law from "religious persecution". Your status as a legitimate religious organization can still be challenged in a court of law. Generally, the judicial system has held that, to be considered a "church" you must fulfill at least some of the following requirements:
- hold services or meetings on a regular basis;
- have a record of performing marriages, and other ceremonies or sacraments;
- have a place of worship;
- require some financial support by its members;
- have a formal existence and operation;
- have a body of believers or communicants who assemble regularly in order to worship.

This is one of the reasons most churches apply for tax-exempt status: the IRS is a bit more picky as to what they define as a "church". Specifically, "...Distinct legal existence; recognized creed and form of worship; definite and distinct ecclesiastical government; formal code of octrine and discipline; distict religious history; membership not associated with any other church or denomination; organization of ordained ministers; established places of worship; regular congregations; regular religious services (etc, etc)..." http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf

Therefore, by gaining tax-exempt status from the IRS, a church helps to establish a legal basis for it's legitimacy as a "real" church. (This status can still be challenged in court, however).

So, as I read the information in the Church of Body Modification's FAQ, it seems this "church" has incorporated itself, APPLIED for tax-exempt status, and is waiting to hear if their application is approved. IMHO, this matters a great deal in discussing this case.

IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
DemonWolf
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for DemonWolf     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MarkS:

So, as I read the information in the Church of Body Modification's FAQ, it seems this "church" has incorporated itself, APPLIED for tax-exempt status, and is waiting to hear if their application is approved. IMHO, this matters a great deal in discussing this case.

IMHO, it matter little to this case because the girl in question didn't even apply to the church until after she had been informed of her employer's intent to enforce the dress code. To me, this does not show a long standing beleive being held by the plaintiff.

However, I might agree that your point have more bearing to this type of case in general, just not this case specifically.

In general, I would argue that members of this church are currently, as it stands today, entitled to the same level of protection as any other religion (my opinion of their church being irrelavent). Unfortunatly, this will not be proven until a member of this church is discriminated against. The way that laws are proven is by legal challenge: someone is wronged and tries to adress the matter through the courts. The courts will decide what the law means and will pass a ruling that will act as a precident. Unfortunatly (or fortunatly, depending on your perspective) this matter has yet to come before the courts.

--------------------
Friends are like skittles: they come in many colors, and some are fruity!

IMJW-052804

Posts: 7224 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Crono
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Crono   Author's Homepage   E-mail Crono   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MarkS:
*SNIP*

So, as I read the information in the Church of Body Modification's FAQ, it seems this "church" has incorporated itself, APPLIED for tax-exempt status, and is waiting to hear if their application is approved. IMHO, this matters a great deal in discussing this case.

Actually, it probably doesn't matter at all. The rules that determine what constitutes a religion under tax law is different from that of HR law. Whether or not a church has tax-exempt status means absolutely nothing in terms of Title VII protection. In fact, you don't even have to be a member of a church to face religious discrimination.

--------------------
Disclaimer: I might know something about everything, but I don't know much about anything.

Posts: 293 | From: Nashville, TN | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Cactus Wren
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Cactus Wren   E-mail Cactus Wren   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
From the homepage of the Church of Body Modification:

quote:


The CBM, whose membership is approximately 1500 nationwide, would like it to be known that we fully support Miss Kimberly Cloutier in her fight against religious discrimination by Costco. Miss Cloutier is a valued member of the CBM. The CBM holds steadfast that Miss Cloutier's eyebrow piercing is a vital part of her spirituality and therefore protected by the Constitution. It is our belief that to force her, or anyone, to remove their piercing is to deny them their religious freedom. This act would be similar to denying someone the right to pray or meditate.

It is our hope that the United States Supreme Court will decide to hear this case and rule in favor of religious freedom as guaranteed in the first amendment of the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” This country was founded on the freedom of religion. Let us not change that to be freedom of religion so long as you agree with the majority.



--------------------
“Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.” -- Edward R. Murrow

IOToriSparrowANK!

Posts: 598 | From: Arizona | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2