Barring Employees From Answering Questions About Religion May Violate Title VII


In Weathers v. FedEx Corporate Services, a federal district court ruled that a former FedEx manager could proceed to trial on his claim that FedEx failed to accommodate his religious beliefs by prohibiting him from answering questions about his religion in the workplace.


Eric Weathers, a self-described conservative evangelical Christian, had worked for FedEx for nearly two decades before being promoted to direct sales manager in Chicago in 2007. During his tenure at FedEx, Weathers belonged to an organization of Christian FedEx employees and had been invited to speak at FedEx sales conferences about his faith. In August 2007, one of Weathers’s direct reports complained that Weathers discriminated against her by quoting biblical passages about slaves and masters and telling her that she was Weathers’s slave. FedEx’s human resources department investigated the allegations and concluded that Weathers’s did not violate any company policy, but nevertheless issued him a letter of counseling. The letter, which was intended to be a coaching tool, as opposed to a letter of reprimand, instructed Weathers to cease discussing religious matters with other employees, even if other employees initiate the conversation. Weathers alleged that a HR representative further told Weathers he could not discuss religion because it was a “detrimental act.”

In October 2007, Weathers sent his supervisor and an HR representative an email asking for clarification regarding how Title VII prohibits him from discussing religion. In his email, Weathers quoted a biblical passage which Weathers believed obligated him to answer questions about his religion when asked. Weathers alleges he did not receive a response to his email.

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