Supreme Court hears oral arguments on religious accommodation, attorney compensation

Supreme Court hears oral arguments on religious accommodation, attorney compensation

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments on Wednesday in two cases. In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. [docket], the court heard arguments [transcript, PDF] on whether an employer can be liable [questions presented, PDF] under Title VII [text] of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for declining to hire an applicant based on the applicant’s religion only if the employer’s knowledge that the applicant required religious accommodation resulted from direct, explicit notice by the applicant. In this case, Samantha Elauf interviewed for a job with Abercrombie & Fitch [corporate website] while wearing a headscarf (hijab), pursuant to her Muslim faith. Elauf was not hired, purportedly due to her black headscarf [Guardian report], which violated Abercrombie’s “look” policy.

In Baker Botts, LLP v. ASARCO, LLC [docket], the Supreme Court heard arguments [transcript, PDF] on whether Section 330(a) [text] of the Bankruptcy Code, which grants bankruptcy judges the discretion to award “reasonable compensation” for services rendered by an attorney, permits bankruptcy judges to award compensation for the defense of a fee application [questions presented, PDF]. While it is undisputed that attorneys may be compensated for the preparation of fee applications, the Supreme Court is asked to resolve a circuit split on whether defending a fee application is likewise compensable.