EEOC’s Attempt to Revisit Undue Hardship Defense Rejected


Last year, we reported on EEOC v. JBS USA, LLC No. 8:10CV318 (D. NE.). (Click here to read both blog posts.) The case includes the EEOC’s pattern or practice claim that JBS failed to accommodate its Muslim employees’ religious practices at its Grand Island, Nebraska beef processing plant. Last May, after a ten-day hearing, the court accepted JBS’s defense that the EEOC’s proposed accommodations would have been an “undue hardship,” as that phrase is used in Title VII. This week, the court ruled on the EEOC’s request to reopen the issue, turning the agency down flat. The court also certified the original ruling on undue hardship as a final judgment, opening the way for use of the ruling in other matters and for an early appeal. We expect to hear more from the EEOC on this issue – both in the trial court, where the individual claims associated with this case are pending, and in the court of appeals.