Maybe. Employers may encourage employees to get a flu shot for a variety of reasons: to control health care costs by warding off illness, to manage productivity levels by helping to keep the majority of the workforce healthy and able to work or simply as a 'fringe benefit' of employment. Some may go so far as to require a flu shot as a condition of employment and will terminate or threaten to terminate any employee who does not comply.
Two former teachers at the Little Oaks School in Thousand Oaks were let go after they refused to submit information about their own faith, including church attendance, and a reference from a pastor to their employer. Rather than settling a wrongful termination and religious discrimination case with the teachers, the school has filed a lawsuit in federal court to assert what it believes is its right to associate and hire only those who share its religious beliefs.
With the 2012 elections in the past and holiday decorations starting to appear everywhere, 2013 is already right around the corner. California's legislature passed 18 new laws affecting employment in the state - all of them will take effect with the start of the new year.
It can be very hard to prove a discrimination case. As if it were not difficult enough to show what motivated an employer's decision, employers often come to court equipped with detailed information about the employee's entire tenure at the company. Any history of discipline or disagreement with a supervisor can become the employer's excuse for its decision, making it that much harder to prove whether the real motivation was illegal discrimination.
California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Assembly Bill 1964 into law prohibiting discrimination against workers who wear visible signs of their religion - like turbans or hijabs - in the workplace. The new law is aimed at protecting Muslim and Sikh workers from religious discrimination in the workplace but protects all employees in California from religion-based employment discrimination.
Imane Boudlal, a 28-year-old former hostess at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts' Storyteller Café in California, wore a hijab to work in August 2010. Disney response to her Muslim head covering is now the basis for an employment discrimination lawsuit.
A new bill recently passed by the California Assembly seeks to expand religious protections in the workplace by specifically allowing employees to wear religious clothing and carry religious objects while at work. Religious hairstyles would also be protected. Religious freedom is already protected in the California workplace. An employer cannot legally discriminate against an employee based on his or her religious beliefs.
An AutoZone employee who'd converted to the Sikh religion suffered employment discrimination when he was told he could not wear a turban and a kara, as required by his religion, while working. He was also taunted about being a terrorist or whether he'd joined Al Qaeda by both management and customers.
A religious discrimination lawsuit brought by one NASA computer specialist is set to go to trial in Los Angeles soon. Religious discrimination is one of the most common types of workplace discrimination in California and against state and federal law. Religious discrimination can take multiple forms including demotions and wrongful terminations.
The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that impacts religious teachers raised many questions for the thousands of teachers and religious staff persons employed by religious organizations throughout the country. As the president of the National Association of Catholic School Teachers put it, "I don't give up my rights at the schoolhouse door. I should not have to do that."