A provision in a Michigan teachers’ union contract calling for “special consideration” to be given to “minority” job applicants including “those of the non-Christian faith” was removed by the Ferndale School District this week after the language was identified as a violation of the Federal Civil Rights Act.
Michigan Capitol Confidential reported on the union contract which, for teachers applying for promotions to vacant positions, read: “Special consideration shall be given to women and/or minorit[ies] defined as: Native American, Asian American, Latino, African American and those of the non-Christian faith.”
On both the state and federal level, the Civil Rights Act prohibits religious discrimination in employment. Consequently, it is illegal to ask job applicants about their religious affiliation—a law violated by the “non-Christian” language in the teachers’ union contract.
According to The Detroit News, the decades-old contract was revised after the discriminatory language was brought to the district’s attention. Ferndale Schools spokeswoman Shelley Rose acknowledged, “nobody was really aware of” the language, which “was there much to our embarrassment.”
“Please note that the district does not discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion or other related issues,” Rose affirmed.