Partner Jill Kahn Marshall Quoted in Law360 Articles on Important Employment Law Cases in 2020 and What To Watch for in 2021

Law360 recently reached out to Partner Jill Kahn Marshall for comment on the articles, “Landmark LGBTQ Decision Tops 2020’s Biggest Bias Rulings” and “4 Religious Liberty Cases Attorneys Should Watch In 2021,” analyzing important Supreme Court rulings in 2020 and upcoming cases for the new year.

Jill discussed the matter Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru , in which two parochial school teachers pursued Title VII claims for discrimination against the schools where they worked. The justices ruled that due to the “ministerial exception,” a legal doctrine that provides certain exceptions from anti-discrimination laws to religious employers, these teachers could not pursue their claims. The Court held that in analyzing such claims, courts should put a primary focus on the nature of the employees’ duties and whether these duties have a religious component. Jill states, “I think the implications here are whether the next case will take the exception further,” and notes that Supreme Court observers are casting an eye to see how the current court will handle future cases involving religious institutions.

Jill also discusses a case filed by the EEOC against Kroger Co., in which two Christian workers were allegedly fired from an Arkansas store due to their refusal to wear a company apron with a rainbow heart on it, on the grounds that the rainbow logo supported the LGBTQIA+  lifestyle and therefore contradicted their religious beliefs.  The EEOC has charged Kroger with violating Title VII by terminating these employees due to their religion.  Jill states, “I think it will be interesting to see what the court does because the burden on the employer in this case is actually pretty low to show that they don’t need to provide a religious accommodation. They just really need to show it has a more than a minimal impact on the workplace. Under the [Americans with Disabilities Act] there’s a much higher standard for undue hardship, but under Title VII it’s pretty low.” Kroger Co. claims that the heart logo on their aprons has nothing to do with the LGBTQIA+ community but rather reflects their core values set forth in a 2019 marketing campaign. The company said it has a separate Kroger PRIDE logo that was not displayed on the aprons in question.

To learn more, read “Landmark LGBTQ Decision Tops 2020’s Biggest Bias Rulings” and “4 Religious Liberty Cases Attorneys Should Watch In 2021.”