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Supreme Court arguments in Abercrombie and King set for February session

By Pamela Wolf, J.D.

On Wednesday, February 25, the Justices will hear arguments on the issue of what type of notice an individual must give to an employer in order to invoke Title VII’s protection against religious discrimination and to obtain a needed accommodation for a religious practice, according to the calendar released by the Court on Monday, December 22. The answer to the rather narrow question presented in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. could impact other situations in which employees may need accommodations from employers, such as for a disability, or for gender-identity related issues.

The health care subsidy case, King v. Burwell, is the only case set for oral argument on Wednesday, March 4. The Justices are asked to resolve the question of whether tax credits used to offset the cost of insurance policies purchased on Exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act apply only in the consumer marketplaces set up by 16 states, and not to federally run sites in 34 states.

When the Justices return from the current December break between sessions, they will take up the very closely watched EEOC v. Mach Mining case on Tuesday, January 13. There the Court must wrestle with the question of whether the EEOC’s failure to conciliate in good faith gives rise to an affirmative defense for employers.