Earlier this week, the US Supreme Court ruled that in order to prevail on a disparate treatment claim, a job applicant only has to show that her need for a religious accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer's decision, not that the employer had knowledge of the need. Womble Carlyle Labor & Employment attorney Richard Rainey discussed the EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores Inc. case with Law360.com.

Rainey tells Law360.com, “The practical impact of this decision for employers is significant. Employers are typically told not to ask questions about an applicant’s religious beliefs or practices unless the applicant has made a request for a reasonable accommodation. However, with this decision employers may find themselves in a position in which it would be prudent to ask, on their own initiative, whether or not the dress or personal appearance of an applicant that would otherwise be in violation of the employer’s policies is based on a religious belief or practice and whether a reasonable accommodation is needed.”

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Richard Rainey is a labor and employment attorney with extensive experience litigating employment disputes on behalf of employers in the courtroom and before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board and the US and NC Department of Labor. His litigation practice also includes actions involving covenants not to compete, theft of trade secrets, unfair competition, employee raiding, fair housing and equal credit. Rainey practices in Womble Carlyle’s Charlotte, NC office.