In a case of first impression, a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled recently that a mere request for a religious accommodation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) is not enough to trigger the statute’s anti-retaliation protection.

The decision by the appeals court in EEOC v. North Memorial Health Care, which upholds a trial court ruling in a suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), rejects the agency’s contention that the employer retaliated against an employee when it rescinded her offer of employment after she requested a religious accommodation not to work Friday nights. The panel concluded that the employee had not opposed any practice protected by Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision, a necessary element for proving unlawful retaliation.

A copy of the panel’s ruling in EEOC v. North Memorial Health Care is available here.

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.