Should religion really be a protected class? Should political orientation be one?

Do you have a cite? I can’t find anything on that, but it could be true. OTOH unless they have a membership list or something, I’m not sure exactly how they’d do it.

Im afraid we will need a lawyer to chip in as I can do no more than offer opinion.

The First Amendment protects against government, not private action. If Amazon decided tomorrow it wasn’t going to hire Democrats, the First Amendment would not protect or provide a remedy to sue for anyone.

The FBI and other law enforcement can do surveillance of political parties and members of protected classes if they believe laws are being broken. The lists of political operatives convicted of corruption and ministers convicted of financial crimes are pretty long.

Not necessarily unless you think it would be legal for a company to have a policy that it wouldn’t hire any women, or blacks, or Muslims.

Legal protections in the workplace come from state and federal statutes, not the First Amendment. Certainly law could be passed that provide for legal protections for political affiliation, but again, the protections for people working at a private comlany wouldn’t come from the First Amendment.

Right. There were plenty of companies that had such policies long after the Bill of Rights was ratified.

I rather like pointing out that only personal morals prevent an atheist from being bad, not the threat of some amorphous being so bluntly, I would prefer an atheist over someone who is intensely religious and therefor ‘scared straight’.

I dont think I agree. Religion (at least Christianity and Islam) saved the Jews from an active effort to completely eliminate them in the way of the Romans and Nazis. The Christians didnt do it because they believed Jews were savable and to the Muslims they were allowed to live amongst them because they were People of the Book. While Christian rhetoric often mirrored things the Nazis said it didnt lead to mass murder. I dont know enough islamic history to comment on how they treated their Jewish communities pre WW2.

I think religion should be a protected class. If you see the First Amendment as enshrining some American “core principles”, and I believe it does, we are clearly intentionally designed to be a religiously plural society. Now obviously this wasn’t considered in light of employment 240 years ago, but I think the logic in creating the system of “protected classes”, and making religion one of them, ultimately is a valid exercise of political power and good policy. At the end of the day I don’t want us to be the kind of country where basic religious beliefs are a barrier to being able to get a good job, or where the petty tyrants of the workforce can fire you for not sharing their religious beliefs.

However I do think the “weighing” of religious freedom at work with reasonable accommodations shows some sign of going in the wrong direction, with activist conservative judges really running a little wild with jurisprudence based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I think you should broadly be protected from discrimination in a public accommodation or at the workplace based on your religion. But I also think if the precepts of someone’s religion would require a policy or behavior that discriminates against someone else, then at that point we should no longer have to accommodate it.

There was an issue for example with Muslim cabbies in the Minneapolis area who wouldn’t let dogs ride in their cab. Now for a family pet, I think you can argue–leave it up to the cabbie, but they also refused to make exceptions for seeing-eye dogs, which is patently illegal. While legal actions have been taken, it’s a freewheeling world in the business of taking fares for money (especially now that you can do it via Uber/Lyft which aren’t regulated like taxis are), and there’s still consistent reports of the behavior continuing.

I’m sympathetic to the cabbies, but I think they need to be required to give guide dogs a ride, regardless of their religious belief. I also think they ought consult some further guidance in their own religion. Islam teaches that dogs are ritually unclean, it doesn’t teach that you can never interact or be near a dog, and occupational dogs are seen as a fairly valid reason to interact with canines by virtually every school of Islamic thought. These are lower-education people from a Muslim background who are not well educated in the specifics of their own faith.

Do you also interpret it as an excellent example of why political opinion needs to be a protected class? Because the regimes I wrote about use(d) much the same tactics to stifle what they saw as undesirable political thought. For example, for at least the last half of the USSR’s existence, simply voicing support for something like Zionism or monarchism or free-market capitalism wasn’t likely to get you thrown in the gulag, but if you did openly cleave to these opinions, you’d never hold a job as a teacher or professor or journalist.

There is no law that forbids NAMBLA or the KKK from having meetings. Those meetings are protected by the First Amendment. However they are not permitted to conspire to commit illegal acts, aid and abet in illegal acts, nor solicit illegal acts.

To use NAMBLA, they can have chapters in every town. They can write their legislators encouraging them to make sex with children legal. They can give speeches about how there is nothing wrong with having sex with children. But they cannot use this banner to have sex with children, or give advice to one another about how to get away with having sex with children.

I think your issue is that if political orientation was added as a protected class and I was a member of the “Send Blacks back to Africa” Party, if you owned a business, you couldn’t refuse me service or refuse to hire me.

That has nothing to do with the First Amendment and free association - Amazon can’t refuse to hire women, or blacks, or Muslims because of the Civil Rights Act and other state and Federal laws and regulations. The First Amendment protects against government not private action -

This would have gone nowhere had the men worked for a private employer.

There is no denying that there has been a history of discrimination in other countries and other times of discrimination against both religious and political opinions. But, way more importantly, there is history of discrimination against religious belief (and non-belief) in this country that is ongoing that is/was so sufficient that both state and federal governments have recognized it as a problem that needs legislation to protect against. If you (though, I am not actually sure from your responses what your position is) believe that political affiliation should be added to this list, I would say that it would be your burden to show that the discrimination is widespread enough to justify adding to a list of protected classes. Can you show a large and growing list of people that have been denied employment or advancement because of their political belief? I can certainly name religious groups that continue to experience religious discrimination in employment, despite the legal protections. Coming up with other places where political belief has caused discrimination doesn’t convince me that it should be listed as a protected class. I think a stronger argument would be the blacklist of communists (and suspected communists) in this country during McCarthyism. If you could show that this is an ongoing problem for members of X group, based upon their political beliefs, I can certainly understanding adding it to the list of protected classes.

That being said, I realize my prior response didn’t fully respond to your point and was unnecessarily curt. My apologies.

This reminds me of Kim Davis, the clerk that refused to provide marriage licenses to homosexual couples. If I remember correctly, she was held in contempt and jailed, not because of her religious belief, but because she refused to complete a vital function of her job. I think there are plenty of ways to accommodate religious belief, but still not allow blatant discrimination to take place in the workplace, merely because someone’s religion calls for it. With the cabbie example, if a cab company has multiple cabbies, and only a select few refuse to allow dogs in their car, and its a trivial exercise to have a different cabbie handle the seeing eye dog fares, I see no problem with that accommodation. On the other hand, if you have 3 cabbies in your company, and 2 of them refuse to permit seeing eye dogs in their cabs, I would support an employer saying that these 2 drivers refuse to do an essential part of the job, and replacing them with workers that can do it.

Part of the issue with cabbies is the individual drivers are licensed by the taxi commission, and they were picking people up at coveted “pick-up” spots at the airport in Minneapolis which was specifically designated for taxi pick up. It’s fairly disruptive in that scenario to try to accommodate a religious objection without interfering with the easy movement of people, additionally the person with the guide dog is a protected class and the taxi service is required to offer an accommodation. In this case it is the taxi driver who is providing the service, not the company. The driver does not have the discretion to decline the fare on religious grounds.

Some of those same cabbies would refuse to transport people who had alcohol on them for the same religious reason. I believe since transporting alcohol isn’t a protected class, those cabbies weren’t fined for that, but they were required to leave the pick up line and go back to the back of the line without picking up a fare, which cuts into their $ since they essentially have to wait in the full queue twice to get a single fare.

That situation sounds like it has a lot of the same interplay between religious freedom and discrimination that the case with the baker that refused to make a wedding cake for the gay couple had. Of course the person trying to get into the next available cab doesn’t have the latitude to pick another provider the way a person shopping for cake does. Did the cabbies sue the taxi commission? I would probably look at whether other cabbies have the ability to deny fare based on non-religious grounds. For example, if a cabbie can say, I won’t take any fares that are eating, I can also understand giving cabbies the right to not accept someone because of a violation of their religious beliefs. But if the rule is, you get the next one up, that should be applied to everyone, regardless of the reason.

No, the cabbies in fact were fined by the commission. They don’t have the right to disallow guide dogs, there are very few legal situations where you can disallow a guide dog.

No, I get that. My question is whether they have tried to sue the commission?

Not that I am aware of–and it is highly unlikely they would succeed in their suit. The commission is on very different grounds than was the Colorado Civil Rights Agency over the Mastershop bakery. Cab service is a public transit service and guide dog access is considered a much more important right than having a cake baked, considering there is very specific legislation protecting guide dogs but the issue of cake decorating services is only somewhat arguably under broader public accommodation laws.

Minneapolis airport cabbies who refuse fares face tough penalties - Los Angeles Times (