Title VII's Unintended Beneficiaries: How Some White Supremacist Groups Will Be Able to Use Title VII to Gain Protection from Discrimination in the Workplace

38 Pages Posted: 13 May 2014

See all articles by Lawrence D. Rosenthal

Lawrence D. Rosenthal

Northern Kentucky University - Salmon P. Chase College of Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Although employment discrimination based on religion was not the primary impetus behind the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII does prohibit employers from discriminating against employees, former employees, and prospective employees based on their religion. Statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission demonstrate that of the five protected classifications within Title VII, claims of religious discrimination in the workplace lag behind claims based on race, color, sex, and national origin. Statistics also show religion-based claims have been rising over the past several years.

One set of beliefs with which courts and the EEOC have had to wrestle when determining the contours of Title VII’s prohibition against religion-based discrimination involves white supremacy. Courts and the EEOC have had to determine whether an individual’s membership in a white supremacist organization entitles him to Title VII’s protection against religion-based discrimination. Although early court opinions ruled against granting Title VII protection to these individuals, members of these groups have become more creative and have achieved at least some success in gaining Title VII protection against religion-based discrimination in the workplace. The Creativity Movement now proclaims on its website that it is a religion and that its members are now protected by federal laws that prohibit discrimination. As a result of creative use of Supreme Court precedent and with the clever structuring of their white supremacist organizations, members of these groups have gained, and can continue to gain, protection from a statute these individuals’ intolerant attitudes at least partially caused to be enacted. The Article will analyze and discuss various theories of actionable religion-based discrimination, address the prevalence of religion-based workplace discrimination, and argue that by changing the nature and structure of these groups while staying true to their underlying beliefs, members of white supremacist groups can benefit from Title VII protection.

Keywords: Title VII, religion-based discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC, white supremacy, white supremacist organization, workplace discrimination, Civil Rights Act

JEL Classification: K40, K10, J71, J78, J70, K31

Suggested Citation

Rosenthal, Lawrence D., Title VII's Unintended Beneficiaries: How Some White Supremacist Groups Will Be Able to Use Title VII to Gain Protection from Discrimination in the Workplace (2012). 84 Temple Law Review 443 (2012), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2430911

Lawrence D. Rosenthal (Contact Author)

Northern Kentucky University - Salmon P. Chase College of Law ( email )

Nunn Hall
Highland Heights, KY 41099
United States

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