Friday, September 01, 2006

Ohio Settles EEOC-Justice Suit On Employee Objections To Union Dues

Today the U.S. Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a consent decree that resolves religious discrimination lawsuits against the state of Ohio, various state agencies and OCSEA (AFSCME, Local 11, AFL-CIO), a union that represents state employees. The suits alleged that the various defendants violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act when they permitted members of churches that have historically opposed unionization to pay an amount equivalent to their union dues to charity, but refused to grant the same treatment to religious objectors who do not belong to these churches. They were required to pay a representation fee to the union. The suit arose out of an employee's religious objections to supporting OCSEA because the union had taken positions in favor of abortion rights and same-sex marriage. (See prior posting.) EEOC Regional Attorney Jacqueline H. McNair said that the consent decree "will protect approximately 37,000 public employees covered by the State of Ohio’s collective bargaining agreement with the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association."