Image is Everything: Corporate Branding and Religious Accommodation in the Workplace
53 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2014 Last revised: 1 Apr 2015
Date Written: February 15, 2014
There is growing tension in the law between an employee’s right to religious expression in the workplace and an employer’s countervailing right to cultivate the corporate image of its choosing. The existing case law provides little meaningful guidance to employers and employees faced with this conflict; not only do case outcomes vary from court to court, but the analysis and reasoning underlying these decisions is often inconsistent and, in some cases, contradictory. I argue that because a company’s image is one of its most valuable assets, courts should more closely scrutinize religious-accommodation claims that interfere with a company’s ability to control its image. This does not require a break from Supreme Court precedent, but rather stricter adherence thereto. I offer three recommendations for how courts can recalibrate their analysis of religious-accommodation cases involving corporate-image concerns to produce a more even case law that better comports with Supreme Court precedent and provides employers and employees greater clarity in navigating this sensitive and complex issue.
Keywords: employment discrimination, religious discrimination, religious accommodation, corporate image, corporate branding, corporate reputation, religious expression
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation