Confusing Political Discrimination for Religious Discrimination
Although this story does not involve the employment sector, its implications are still applicable. In an interesting case out of Manhattan, a supporter of President Trump was ejected from a bar and he sued for discrimination. The theory his attorney used to support his claims may surprise you.
Bounced from a bar for supporting
Trump An accountant from Philadelphia was kicked out of a bar just after President Trump’s inauguration for wearing the “Make America Great Again” ball cap made famous by the President. Greg Piatek claims that, after being treated rudely by the wait staff at the bar, he was told “[a]nyone who supports Trump — or believes in what you believe — is not welcome here! And you need to leave right now because we won’t serve you!”
“Offended his sense of being American”
Piatek filed suit against the bar and his main claim was that being thrown out of the bar “offended his sense of being American.” However, this argument quickly changed after the attorney for the bar pointed out that the state’s antidiscrimination laws protect against discrimination based on religion, not politics and that “supporting Trump is not a religion.” At that point, Piatek’s attorney argued that “he wore [the hat] because he was visiting the 9/11 Memorial . . . and paying spiritual tribute to the victims of 9/11.” She further argued that the “Make American Great Again hat was part of his spiritual belief.”
Judge tests the “spiritual beliefs” of the plaintiff
The judge, in that case, expressed his reluctance to find that the alleged discrimination was based on religion or religious beliefs. The judge asked Piatek’s attorney how the employees of the bar could have known about his “spiritual” beliefs in order to discriminate against him on that basis. Her response was that he was wearing the hat. The judge then asked how many members were included in her client’s supposed spiritual program. When she could not respond, the judge asked “So, it’s a creed of one?” to which she agreed.
Discrimination suit dismissed
Ultimately finding that Piatek failed to state any real faith-based principle to which the hat related, the judge dismissed the case. The judge also found that the only damage claimed was unspecified emotional damages, which he said was nothing more than a “petty” slight. The judge found that being refused service and then escorted out because of his support for President Trump did not constitute outrageous conduct. The point to be made by this ruling is that the law doesn’t protect against political discrimination, which is essentially the basis of the claim here. If you feel you have been the victim of discrimination or retaliation in the workplace, or if you have any other questions regarding your employment rights, please contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Michel | King . You can contact us either online or by calling us at (205) 265-1880. We are here to serve you!