Results of Question of the Month – July 2023

The HR Law section of the July 2023 issue of Library Worklife briefly included an article entitled ‘Employment Law Rulings and Guidance with Implications for Employers.’ As a result, the following question was asked of readers: 

What are you most concerned about as it relates to the Supreme Court’s rulings on religious accommodations or affirmative action, or the National Labor Relations Board’s guidance on workplace protections for conversations about racism? Below are some of the responses received.

I’m not worried about any of these things. But I’m answering this question to express my displeasure that the people behind this article assume everyone feels the same way they do. That’s pretty much the opposite of diversity, isn’t it? Or does “diversity” mean “people who look different from me but agree with me on everything”?
As a queer person, I am very concerned about my continued access to services in my community, as well as my and my community’s safety now that it is more legally permissible to discriminate against us. 
I am concerned about how far an employer must go to accommodate an employee’s religious practices. For example, in some religions menstruating women are considered “unclean”.  Must an employer track a female worker’s cycle to protect someone’s religious practice? Would they be required to offer separate workspaces? Must devout employees be granted time off to observe the sabbath when other employees have to work weekends and holidays? 
I feel that the ruling on religious accommodations is too broad and people like me, an atheist, will have to pick up the “slack” because I don’t need to be off for a certain holiday, or wear or not wear an article of clothing. I feel it allows too much leeway for an employee to take advantage of an employer and say it’s because of my religion.  I believe taking away affirmative action allows (‘conservative’) employers to silently discriminate against certain ethnic groups (and get away with it).   
As a transgender queer person who is very open about their identity, I worry about the future ramifications of this on marginalized groups. Removing protections for marginalized groups and removing systems which help to level the playing field for them with majority groups is very scary – and could have very large real-world ramifications. 
The Supreme Court’s rulings are worrying because the possibility that this is going to result in a less diverse workforce as well as allowing discrimination as forcing others to do without services because the service provider can claim a religious excuse.  
Systemically reaffirming racist and ultra-conservative ideologies within our democracy that people have worked for decades to overcome.
As an LGBTQIA+ librarian, I am worried that religious accommodations will discriminate against me, others like me, and my patrons who are not cisgender, white, able-bodied, Christian men. I worry even more for my patrons and coworkers that have more intersections of discrimination. People should be free to be themselves, love who they love, wear their natural hairstyles, and express themselves meaningfully without fear of being fired or retaliated against. I am lucky that my immediate supervisors are welcoming and supportive of all people, but we live in an area that is definitely not, and at any time a change higher up, someone emboldened by the Supreme Court’s hatred, could lead to a lot of harm in my library and our community.
What are the National Labor Relations Board’s guidelines.  What type of retaliation are conservative and Christian organizations going to see based on the Supreme Court’s rulings?  What is ALA and ACRL going to do regarding these new rulings and guidelines?
I am concerned that the court’s religious and racist leanings of some people will affect all people. White Christian dominance in our courts will roll back the advances we’ve made to support all people in our society. 
To what extent is the decision on religious accommodations likely to exclude minority beliefs? 
I am concerned about how these priorities will play a role in supporting the fascist attack on educational institutions—allowing for religious ideologies to dictate collections and quashing frank looks at our country’s history.