Wisconsin Personnel Commission's             Digest of Decisions        March, 1999 Version

Sections 772 through 772.04

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772  Discrimination based on creed


772.01 Generally

Respondent’s motion to dismiss a religious discrimination claim for failure to state a claim over which the Commission had jurisdiction was granted where complainant claimed that respondent’s action of not allowing him to wear a hat while it allowed Muslim employes to wear head coverings constituted discrimination. Complainant’s significant rights associated with his position (such as his wages and length of employment) had not been affected by the religious accommodation made to the Muslim employees and the impact on complainant was de minimus. Darrington v. DOC, 97-0108-PC-ER, 12/3/97

An employer's failure to grant a religiously-motivated request for a fringe benefit not provided under its standard personnel and management procedures did not create a conflict between the employe's religious practices and the employer's procedures so as to constitute a violation of the employer's duty of accommodation. Lazarus v. DETF, 90-0014-PC-ER, 9/21/92; affirmed by Dane County Circuit Court, Lazarus v. State Pers. Comm., 92 CV 4252, 6/7/93

772.02(2) Finding of no probable cause

No probable cause was found with respect to a decision to deny approval, for salary add-on purposes, of the credits earned for a course titled "Fundamental Science of Nature." Complainant, a math teacher in a correctional institution, was entitled to a salary add-on upon the completion of a certain amount of additional relevant course work with the credits subject to approval by respondent. Respondent determined that the course in question was not relevant to complainant's duties as a math teacher and there was no evidence that the respondent's determination was because of complainant's or anyone else's "system of religious beliefs." Kircher v.DHSS, 87-0065-PC-ER, 8/10/88

No probable cause was found where complainant, an agnostic and an alcoholic, was terminated primarily because of chronic absenteeism, tardiness, and low productivity and complainant was rejected for participation in an alcoholic treatment program because he indicated he did not need the program, not because of his religious beliefs. Burton v. DNR, 82-PC-ER-36, 8/31/83

772.03(1) Finding of discrimination

Discrimination as to conditions of employment was found where religious comments by complainant's co-workers were numerous, they were continuous over complainant's period of employment as a Facilities Repair Worker 3, they were directed at the complainant, they were sufficiently derogatory to be considered non-trivial and at times opprobrious, the respondent was aware that complainant was being harassed due to his religion and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the harassment. However, no discrimination was found as to complainant's subsequent discharge. For relief, the Commission required respondent to provide training for those employes who supervised complainant during his probationary employment. Laber v. UW-Milwaukee, 81-PC-ER-143, 11/28/84

772.03(2) Finding of no discrimination

No discrimination based on creed, sex or sexual orientation was found with respect to respondent’s actions of removing complainant from his position as program leader and setting the level of his pay in his backup position of associate professor, where concerns about complainant’s managerial abilities were heightened by receipt of an affirmative action complaint against complainant from one of complainant’s colleagues, and where respondent concluded that complainant’s leadership was not meeting program needs. Complainant’s comparisons relating to his salary claim involved circumstances that were distinctly different from those of complainant. Kinzel v. UW (Extension), 92-0218-PC-ER, 8/21/96

Respondent’s motion to dismiss was granted where complainant contended respondent’s actions of assigning overtime to the least senior employe constituted discrimination based on creed. The overtime assignments were made pursuant to a provision of the applicable union contract and complainant did not allege that the seniority system was intended to result in the assignment of overtime to the disadvantage of employes who professed the same creed as complainant. Brackemyer v. UW (River Falls), 95-0172-PC-ER, 5/28/96

Complainant failed to establish a prima facie case due to his failure to show that any of those who made the decision to terminate his employment were aware of his religious affiliation or beliefs and failure to show he performed his job satisfactorily. Green v. DHSS, 92-0237-PC, 12/13/93

Where all employes, including complainant, were eligible for group insurance coverage that encompassed medical treatment but not any form of non-medical treatment, there was no disparate treatment with respect to complainant, a Christian Scientist who sought coverage for services provided by a Christian Science practitioner. The record did not support a finding that Christian Science treatment either constitutes medical treatment or is generally recognized as medical treatment. Lazarus v. DETF, 90-0014-PC-ER, 9/21/92; affirmed by Dane County Circuit Court, Lazarus v. State Pers. Comm., 92 CV 4252, 6/7/93

Respondent did not discriminate against the complainant when it discharged him where his performance was unsatisfactory and he used excessive sick leave and leave without pay. However, the Commission did find discrimination as to certain conditions of employment. The mere existence of a work environment in which religion based harassment is practiced and tolerated is not sufficient, in and of itself, to force a conclusion that the discharge of the harassed employe was motivated by religious discrimination and that the reasons offered by the employer for the discharge were a pretext for such discrimination. Laber v. UW-Milwaukee, 81-PC-ER-143, 11/28/84


While this digest has been prepared by Personnel Commission staff for the convenience of interested persons, it should be remembered that the decisions themselves are the ultimate source of Commission precedent.

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