Suppose you are the hiring manager at Terrific Trucking Firm and you are hiring drivers. Aside from checking your applicants’ driving records, you interview them, run drug tests, background checks, and generally make sure you feel confident that they are a good fit for your company. In walks a candidate whose application you liked, and whose driving record and other qualifications seemed perfect for the job. Then you see him. He has a long beard and he wears a turban. You don’t want to pre-judge though. You speak with him, and all seems on the up-and-up. Then you tell him you are ready to offer him a job, on one condition. He, like all other candidates, must provide a hair sample for drug testing. He says no, because he is an observant Sikh, and therefore he cannot cut his hair or remove his turban in public. You apologize and tell him that safety concerns mandate that every applicant undergo a drug test and you therefore reject him for the job — and then he files and EEOC charge or a religious discrimination suit based on state laws. Are you liable for trying to keep the public safe? Quite possibly yes.
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