How is this hiring practice remotely legal?

Not legal advice since neither I nor anyone I know is applying for this job.

A company (not a church) that I know is hiring for a position. Let’s say it’s a HR manager. The want someone fairly religious (read Christian) and on the application you need to list your church and the work you do in it. You also need a reference from your pastor. Their attitude is that it is OK since you know about the policy before you apply.

How is this legal since it basically requires you to be an active Christian to be hired for the job that non-Christians or non-active Christians could do just as well?

Suppose someone is reasonably well qualified and doesn’t get the job because of (they assume) the religious issue and sues. Would the company have to justify why they hired the person they did hire to the judge to so it was not based on religion? If not, what defense would be successful?

Sounds like an EEOC suit waiting to happen.

How big is this company? I’m no expert, but I believe federal non-discrimination laws generally don’t apply to companies with fewer than 15 employees.

What are the job duties?

The idea that a company of any size can’t make any decisions based on religion is wrong. To pick an example, a butchering company may have to hire an observant Jew, if they wish to claim that their meat is kosher.

If the job’s duties include some aspect which makes the religious knowledge and practice of the applicant relevant, the company is relatively safe.

The downside, of course, is that very few jobs actually do.

There are faith based organizations that are allowed to make religiosity a requirement. For example the Heffer Project and Work Vision require their employees to sign a statement that they are Christians. I don’t know what special legal status is required, but there are some organizations in the US that are able to make being Christian (and presumably other religions) a requirement.

This is true in Canada too, I believe. An acquaintance of mine had to get a letter from the pastor of her church in order to get a teaching job working for the Catholic School Board.

Is it a faith based company? If so that is a huge difference. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 affirms the right of religious companies, not only churches but faith BASED companies, to hire people of their own religions.

Courts have gone both ways, depending on how the company is viewed. The Salvation Army in Mississippi in the 80s, lost a cast when it fired a woman for practicing Wicca. The judge ruled it was a religion not a charity and because it received federal money couldn’t discriminte.

Now note here had the Salvos not received federal money they’d have been OK

After GW Bush allowed some relaxation of rules, a federal court in NY found the Salvos to be a CHARITY and allowed some faith based criteria in hiring.

OK this is a mixed bag and it mostly comes from the 1st Amendment. The first amendment has to balance the rights of religion versus the ordinary Joe. Remember religious rights come from the US Constitution which carries more weight than a law passed by a state legislature or federal government.

For profit companies do not fall under this category.

As a general rule if you’re faith based and take no government money, you pretty much can disciminate against who you want to.

So the OP needs to state the type of company involved. For profit or non profit and is it faith based at all?

I wonder if a discordian pope would work as a reference?

If it’s a BFOQ, it’s perfectly legal. For a HR manager in a business actually qualifying… I really can’t see it. For a religious organization… maybe, and even that’s iffy. It’s not exactly a clerical position.

And yes, I can think of arguments that would support their policy… but I just can’t see them flying in front of a judge.

Plastics for Jesus

This company used to be very up front about thier connection with the Lord and even had red white and blue crosses on the front of thier catalogs. Looks like they have toned things down since the founder passed away; although they still have the cross on the building promently displayed so that you can’t miss it on I-75. Every page of thier catalog used to have religious messages and information concerning thier extensive missions in foriegn countries that they financed thru plastics sales. I could see them requiring that you be a proven Christen to work there.

Interesting enough, they are just up the highway from Big Butter Jesus.

In my area we have gay-only, disabled-only, black-only, and women-only businesses. Sure, you can apply at those places if you don’t meet the criteria I suppose, but they are not going to hire you. I have yet to hear of any litigation.

I’d have to check to see if it is faith-based. What exactly is the legal definition of “faith-based”. It seems to me it needs to be more than “We’re Christians and I only hire Christians.” To Bricker, the reason I said that it was an HRposition was to use an example where religion isn’t an issue like it would be if the position were a youth pastor for example.

More than 15 employees guarantied.

As I understand it, faith-based is defined more by case law than by a specific, written definition. However, some common examples are hospitals and schools, from pre-school to colleges/ universities, who make religion part of their mission.

Here is some effort to hash out a definition:

ETA: In addition to the requirement to have 15 or more employees to have federal law apply, the organization must also engage in interstate commerce. Interstate commerce is usually defined broadly enough to include just about every employer, but that is one other possible exception.

Is there any reason you can’t name the employer?

It’s a child sponsorship company. They specifically mention that they are Christians fighting poverty but I think that raises the issue of “faith-based”. Why do you have to be a Christian to work for a charity group? Once you form a business, is it sufficient to say we’re Christians and only hire Christians because it is a Christ-based charity?

I’m thinking of being snarky and asking them if I can work for them only if I’m a Christian, can I contribute money only if I’m a Christian? Let’s see how faith-based they are then.

You have to make sure of your facts too.

For instance there was a case with World Vision.

The thing was World Vision was making a huge deal out of hiring only from its own faith. Wrong, they actually were hiring anyone. The thing was they were giving priority to those of their own faith and they were discouraging people not of their faith to not apply.

But if you said “so what” and you were otherwise qualified they’d hire you anyway.

It’s kind of like when I worked at a company that said “You MUST have a degree.” “We won’t relocate anyone.” and other such stuff. That was a lie. They did hire without a degree and they would pay to relocate. H/R just put that in there to discourage people from applying. Note there are some companies that WILL only hire with a degree but this company I worked for was just lying to discourage a flood of unqualified applicants

Now to be fair you have to look at this thing fairly. If you’re a Christian based organization and you’re going around soliciting money and you’re a Muslim woman in a burqa you’re gonna look stupid and make the company look foolish.

Now maybe you’re the best fundraiser in the world but…Well you get the idea.

And as I said, what is a faith based organization? As you saw by my example a JUDGE decides that and they don’t always agree. One judge said the Salvation Army is a religion the other ruled it as a charity.

Here is the EEOC’s policy guidance on the issue:

Thus, the question is to determine whether the employer is a religious organization. This is a fact-intensive inquiry and “[a]ll significant religious and secular characteristics must be weighed to determine whether the corporation’s purpose and character are primarily religious.” EEOC v. Townley Engineering & Mfg. Co., 859 F.2d 610, 618 (9th Cir. 1988).

The Third Circuit elaborated on the factors to be considered. “Over the years, courts have looked at the following factors:  (1) whether the entity operates for a profit, (2) whether it produces a secular product, (3) whether the entity’s articles of incorporation or other pertinent documents state a religious purpose, (4) whether it is owned, affiliated with or financially supported by a formally religious entity such as a church or synagogue, (5) whether a formally religious entity participates in the management, for instance by having representatives on the board of trustees, (6) whether the entity holds itself out to the public as secular or sectarian, (7) whether the entity regularly includes prayer or other forms of worship in its activities, (8) whether it includes religious instruction in its curriculum, to the extent it is an educational institution, and (9) whether its membership is made up by coreligionists.” LeBoon v. Lancaster Jewish Community Center, 503 F.3d 217 (3rd Cir. 2007).

LeBoon, however is a bit anomalous. Up until that point, the rule of thumb is that the religious organization exemption had applied only to “houses of worship or entities affiliated with them.” John P. Furfaro and Risa M. Salins, Religious Organization Exemptions, N.Y.L.J., Apr. 4, 2008, available at, (last visited July 28, 2010). Perhaps the most striking example of this is to be found in Fike v. United Methodist Children’s Home, where the court found that a home founded by the United Methodist Church had, over time, become so secularized in its operations as to lose its exemption. 547 F.Supp. 286 (E.D. Va. 1982).

It is not enough, however, merely to point out that the organization’s operations could be carried out on a non-sectarian basis. Congress in 1972 removed an earlier limitation of the 702 exemption which allowed the exemption only with respect to religious activities. The Supreme Court authorized this widened exemption in Corp. of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. Amos, where an employee of a gymnasium affiliated with the LDS Church, none of whose duties were religious in nature, was barred from asserting a claim for religious discrimination. 483 U.S. 327 (1987).

An organization that asserts it has a religious purpose because its operations also serve as an expression or implementation of its founders’ religious beliefs will very likely not be found to qualify for an exemption. See Townley, 859 F.2d at 619.

So, cite please? (Like name them, and specify the area.)

Because frankly I find this hard to believe.

Really? So I guess what “equal employment opportunities” really means is that discrimination is fine, as long as you aren’t doing it on the basis of being white and/or male.

How about we wait for the cites before the white males get their backs up.

White males don’t need no stinkin cites!