• Employee Relations, Title VII, and the Confederate Battle Flag
  • August 27, 2015 | Author: Gillian Watson Egan
  • Law Firm: Burr & Forman LLP - Mobile Office
  • Many workplaces situated below the Mason-Dixon line will employ both those who feel the Confederate flag is a vital part of their heritage and self-expression, and also those who see the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism, fear and intimidation. The issue and controversy surrounding Confederate flag-flying is by no means a new one. However, after the brutal and horrific slaying of nine African Americans at a prayer meeting in Charleston, and subsequent removal of the flag from official government buildings in several southern states, the Stars and Bars has recently become a flash point for southern tempers. What's a manager to do when one employee claims another's display of the flag makes her fearful? What if the flag-waver claims that it has no racial significance for him, but only historical pride? What if she retorts that the flag is creating a "hostile work environment" and threatens a harassment claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? What if he answers that his right to fly the flag is actually protected by Title VII, under a "national origin" or "religious" category?