In McDaniel,46 a Seventh Day Adventist was discharged for refusing to join the union or pay it fees. In contrast to Yott, McDaniel offered to pay the full dues amount to a non-religious, non-union charity. The union refused this offer and sought McDaniel's discharge.
Essex, the employer, requested that the union allow more time to reach an agreement with McDaniel, who made an alternative suggestion that she pay that proportion of her union dues with which she could morally agree, while paying the remainder to a mutually acceptable charity. The union refused this offer as well, and McDaniel was fired for failure to join the union and tender dues and fees.
McDaniel sued under Title VII, and the trial court dismissed her suit, finding that non-payment of dues constitutes an undue hardship on the union. But the 6th Circuit Court reversed the decision of the trial court and interpreted Hardison as requiring "an effort at accommodations" and, if unsuccessful, a demonstration "that they are unable to reasonably accommodate the plaintiff's religious beliefs without undue hardship."47
On remand, the trial court found the union in violation of Title VII for its failure to make any attempt at accommodation before claiming undue hardship.48 In the trial court's eyes, substituting charitable contributions for union dues "was not an undue hardship, put[ting] the [union's] actions clearly in the realm of a Title VII violation."49
The union's request that McDaniel be discharged was ruled unlawful, and the employer was also found guilty of violating Title VII because it complied with the request. The court based its decision on the fact that accommodating McDaniel's request did not substantially burden other employees.51 Nor did it impose a substantial cost on the employer in the court's eyes.52