Thomas v. Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division
United States Supreme Court
450 U.S. 707 (1981)
Eddie C. Thomas (plaintiff) was a Jehovah’s Witness who worked for the roll-foundry department of the Blaw-Knox Foundry & Machinery Company (Blaw-Knox) (defendant). Blaw-Knox transferred Thomas to a department that produced turrets for military tanks. Thomas claimed that, due to his religious beliefs, he could not work in a department that produced war materials. Thomas quit his job at Blaw-Knox and sued for unemployment benefits, stating that he could not conscientiously produce turrets used in military tanks without violating his religious principles. Thomas had not objected to producing raw materials in the roll foundry, which made sheets of steel for various industrial uses, because he had not been directly responsible for creating turrets for the tanks that would be used in war. The Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division (the Board) (defendant) denied Thomas’s claim for unemployment benefits. The court of appeals reversed, and the Board appealed. The Supreme Court of Indiana determined that Thomas’s objection to his employment was a personal rather than a religious objection. The state supreme court reasoned that Thomas was unable to articulate his religious beliefs with respect to his decision to quit. Further, other employees at Blaw-Knox were Jehovah’s Witnesses and did not have the same objections to working in the same department. Thomas petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review of the denial of his unemployment benefits.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)
Dissent (Rehnquist, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 725,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 725,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,600 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.