Did Religion Knock Astronomer Out of Running for Job?
C. Martin Gaskell, who is an astronomer by trade, also happens to be an evangelical Christian. In his lawsuit, "Gaskell v. University of Kentucky," Gaskell contends he was denied a job because of his religious beliefs, reports The New York Times.
The lawsuit brings up two major issues. First, is whether Gaskell's religion did indeed knock him out of contention for employment. The hiring committee at the University of Kentucky became aware of his beliefs after conducting an Internet search. The second issue is whether certain religion beliefs do disqualify individuals from effectively carrying out a particular job. For example, can a scholar who is a creationist teach a course in evolution?
Federal law prohibits discrimination based on religion, so it was unusual that Gaskell was questioned about his religion during the job interview. Regardless, Gaskell contends that he was asked! On a positive note, at least the issue is out there in the open. Others who apply for jobs might have no indication that an Internet search was done on them, their religion was viewed as a possible problem, and their application was subsequently tossed. Given "Gaskell v. University of Kentucky," those who suspect that this could have happened as a result of being "Googled" might investigate, find evidence of discrimination related to their religious beliefs, and then likewise file suit.
Jane Genova, coach, book author, and lecturer on careers, specializes in transitions. Her talk on professional shifts at the New York State Bar Association has been published in VITAL SPEECHES OF THE DAY. Her latest book is OVER-50: HOW WE KEEP WORKING. She blogs on the subject at http://janegenova.com, http://lawandmore.typepad.com, http://careertransitions.typepad.com and http://over-50.typepad.com.more...