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Inside the Law: Religious Discrimination Exception

May 31, 2018 - 3:30 am
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By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions​

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Is it ever legal to base a hiring decision on someone’s religion?

The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, a museum dedicated to biblical history, has changed its hiring policy. 

According to its director, the museum will now consider hiring workers who do not necessarily believe that the Bible is the literal word of God because it’s been unable to find enough employees. 

Also, does it have something to do with the law? 

Isn’t it already illegal to discriminate on the basis of religion? 

The law prevents employers from discriminating against employees or applicants based on their religious beliefs, but there is an exception that allows a religious organization to prefer to employ members of their own religion. For example, it’s perfectly legal to require nuns to be Catholic.  It also permits employers to hire employees on the basis of religion for certain positions if religion is reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that business. 

Whether the museum could use that exemption to hire only fundamentalist ticket takers remains to be seen. But perhaps if the museum is looking for more employees, it might put its faith in the notion that paying more per hour is likely to brings in more souls.