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Religion Cases



The following are some of the significant cases in this area. They are offered as a start to understanding the issues, and are not intended as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from DOI's Solicitor's Office or private counsel. These summaries are intended neither as a legal analysis regarding specific matters, nor as a complete review of the topic.

  1. Frazee v. Illinois Dept of Employment Security, 489 U.S. 829 S.Ct. 1514 (1989). The Court held that the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause protected the applicant's entitlement to unemployment compensation after the applicant was denied unemployment compensation because he refused, for religious reasons, to work on Sunday.
  1. Welsh v. United States, 398 U.S.333, 90 S.Ct 1792 (1970). The Court held that for a "belief" to be protected under the First Amendment, the belief must be sincere and meaningful.
  1. Ansonia Board of Education v. Philbrook, 479 U.S 60, 107 S.Ct 367 (1986). The Court held that an employer meets the obligations to accommodate employee's religious practice when it offers a reasonable accommodation to the employee and need not show that each of the employee's alternative accommodations would result in undue hardship.
  1. City of Boerne v. Flores, 117 S.Ct. 2157 (1997). Religious Freedom Restoration Act overturned because it is an unwarranted Congressional intrusion into States' traditional prerogatives to pass laws and otherwise govern its citizens.
  1. Guidelines on Religious Freedom in the Federal Workforce was distributed by the Office of Personnel Management on August 15, 1997.