The employment law Case of the Week is Walker v.
Jackson [opinion available to lexis.com
subscribers] , an EEOC decision from October 6, 2011. It answers the age old question - if I get
invited to a same sex wedding celebration, was I subjected to religious
harassment? If you answered, "are you freakin' kidding me?" then
congratulations! You and the EEOC agree (OK, the EEOC was a little more
But what if I complained about it and then had to endure people congratulating
the employee on his "marriage?" (use of "quotes" is the
Complainant's thing, not mine). Still no? Yes, still no.
The Complainant received the following email via a work distribution
[Employee A] and his partner [named] are getting married
this Sunday. The IO is sponsoring an informal celebration to congratulate
[Employee A] on this happy event. Please feel free to drop by the IO conference
room on Thursday, October 7 at 4:30 P.M. to wish them well.
This prompted the Complainant to respond (FYI -apparently
a "Reply All"):
I feel your message announcing the celebration of the
"union" of [Employee A] and his "Partner" was offensive and insensitive to my
religious faith as a Christian. I think it is general knowledge that the
Christian faith only condones "marriages" between men and women, not men and
other men. As acting Office Director, I feel you could have been more "sensitive"
and "neutral" with regards to this issue.
So, what do you think happened next? "The next day,
NCEA employees sent approximately 15-20 emails on the global list-serve
(including Complainant) congratulating Employee A on his marriage." But,
"[n]one of these emails specifically mentioned Complainant or his
This is not religious harassment. The Complainant was invited to a voluntary
social gathering, and the congratulatory emails did not mention the Complainant
or challenge his religious beliefs. Apparently one private email did question
his religious beliefs but that's not enough to constitute a "severe and
pervasive" hostile work environment.
Case dismissed. HT: Volokh
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