The United States Supreme Court recently decided a mixed motive case involving a practicing Muslim woman who was denied a position in an Abercrombie store for wearing a headscarf to her job interview. The Supreme Court held that since Abercrombie knew, or at least suspected, that the scarf was worn for religious reasons and refused to hire her, a discriminatory motive in the employer's decision could be inferred in a mixed motive analysis. The Court determined that an employer cannot take into account a religious practice when making an employment decision, even when the job seeker does not inform of her religious belief and the reason for her wearing a headscarf.
Employees or prospective employees do not have to inform employers that they need an accommodation. As a result, employers will have to infer if an employee or prospective employee needs accommodation and to be extremely careful when making similar employment decisions. This norm makes it more difficult for employers to prevail against failure to accommodate claims.