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High court decision may affect religious freedom in the workplace

As you may already know, government regulations such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act exist as a way to prevent employers from discriminating against their employees. Though many employees are unaware of these protections, most are happy that they have them, especially if their claim of discrimination leads to litigation. That's because these regulations not only hold employers accountable for violating employment law, they also give employees remedy when a violation occurs.

For those unfamiliar with what constitutes as discrimination in the workplace, we'd like you to consider a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in which religious discrimination was a main issue. The case involved a Muslim-American woman who claimed that Abercrombie & Fitch denied her a job because her religious identity violated one of the retailer's policies. The high court agreed with the woman and ruled in her favor.

This decision could have a sweeping effect on businesses all over the country though. That's because it could force businesses to reconsider their business policies and determine if any of them could be construed as discriminatory.

If you're a business owner here in Massachusetts, you know that making changes to company policies takes time and a keen understanding of the law, which is why business owners are encouraged to speak to a skilled business law attorney, such as any of the ones here at Seder & Chandler, LLP.

With our experience in business and employment law, we can help owners recognize when a policy might be discriminatory and facilitate in the rewording process. By identifying particularly problematic policies and changing them to account for the diversity of their workforce, business owners could limit their liability and even avoid litigation down the road, which is an outcome we're sure many of today's readers would welcome.

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