The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit that it had filed last year, in which the EEOC had alleged that a company had discriminated against multiple employees due to their religion and national origin and retaliated against these employees after they complained about the hostile work environment that Service Caster Corporation created. The EEOC’s lawsuit claimed that Service Caster subjected three of its Puerto Rican employees to a hostile work environment because of the Puerto Rican national origin and also because of their sincerely held religious beliefs, Pentecostal. Specifically, the EEOC asserted that the Plant Manager regularly made derogatory, insulting, and negative remarks about the employees’ national origin and called their religion a cult. The employees complained to the owner, but the harassment continued, and Service Caster eventually retaliated by reducing their hours and responsibility and eventually terminating their employment. This alleged conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination and harassment based on an employee’s national origin and religion. See EEOC v. Service Caster Corp., No. 5:19-cv-04525 (E.D. Pa.).
The EEOC recently announced a settlement against Cottle Strawberry Nursery, Inc., in which the EEOC claimed that the company discriminated against one of its employees because of her sincerely held religious beliefs. The EEOC’s complaint alleged that Cottle’s employee, Helen Perez, is a Seventh-day Adventist, and because of her sincerely held religious beliefs, Perez could not work during the Sabbath, which lasts from sunset on Fridays and ends at sunset on Saturdays. After about two years of Perez working for the company, Cottle told all of its employees that its workers were now required to work seven days per week. Perez informed the company of her need for a religious accommodation, and the company fired her in response. The alleged conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See EEOC v. Cottle Strawberry Nursery, Inc., No 7:19-cv-00064-BO (E.D.N.C.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit against American Medical Response in which the EEOC alleged that the company refused to grant an employee’s request for a religious accommodation and then terminated his employment. The EEOC’s Complaint claimed that the employee, who is a practicing Jehovah’s Witness, had requested Sundays off of work for worship. The company initially allowed this request but then later stopped accommodating the request and fired the employee. This alleged conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of their sincerely held religious beliefs and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for such religious beliefs. See EEOC v. American Medical Response, No. 2:17-cv-02725 (W.D. Tenn.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reached a settlement with a restaurant that the EEOC accused of religious discrimination. The EEOC claimed that Georgia Blue hired an employee, Kaetoya Watkins, to work as a server. The company’s dress code required that all servers wear blue jeans. However, Watkins’ sincerely held religious beliefs only permitted her to wear skirts or dresses. She requested that the company accommodate these religious beliefs by permitting her to wear a blue jean skirt, instead of pants. The company denied the requested accommodation and instead told Watkins that the owner would not stray away from the company’s dress code. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination against employees on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs and requires that employers must make reasonable accommodations for such religious beliefs. See EEOC v. Georgia Blue, No. 3:17-cv-00777 (S.D. Miss.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against Aviation Port Services, LLC, in which the EEOC alleged that the company fired several employees because they requested reasonable religious accommodations. The EEOC’s lawsuit claims that six Muslim female employees requested that Aviation Port Services allow them to continue wearing long skirts, and that the company refused this request and fired all six employees. All six employees worked as passenger service agents and all six also wore long skirts to conform with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Late in 2016, however, the company informed the employees that they may no longer wear the long skirts. The company told the women that they must wear either company-provided pants or knee-length skirts or face termination. The women requested a religious accommodation, but they were still fired in January 2017 for their failure to comply with the uniform policy. See EEOC v. Aviation Port Services, Inc., No. 1:18-cv-10909 (D. Mass.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission settled a lawsuit where it alleged that a company refused to hire an employee because of his need for a religious accommodation. The EEOC’s lawsuit claims that an applicant was offered a position with the company and told that his start date was October 3, 2016. The applicant told the manager that he would be unable to start then because he observed Rosh Hashanah on that day. The manager initially told the applicant that he thought it would be acceptable for him to start on October 4, 2016 instead. However, later the same evening, the Vice President of the company called the applicant and told him that it would not provide this religious accommodation. The EEOC claimed that the company revoked the employment offer because of the employee’s need for a religious accommodation. Discrimination on the basis of an applicant or employee’s religion is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See EEOC v. XPO Last Mile, Inc., No.1-17:cv-01342 (D. Md.).
The EEOC reached a settlement with a company regarding a lawsuit that it had filed alleging that the company discriminated against an employee because of the employee's sincerely held religious beliefs. The lawsuit claimed that the employee had requested the reasonable accommodation of being permitted not to work on Saturdays because she observed the Sabbath. The company originally accommodated the request until a new supervisor started in January 2014, after which the accommodation was repeatedly denied and then eventually terminated the employee. See EEOC v. Decostar Industries, Inc., No. 3:17-cv-00054 (N.D. Ga.).
Mission Hospital, Inc. has agreed to a settlement in a religious discrimination case. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleged that the company mandates that employees receive a flu vaccination each year. The company permitted employees to request an exemption for religious accommodations, but the company required the requests to be made by September 1. The EEOC’s lawsuit claimed that three employees of Mission Hospital requested accommodations based on their sincerely held religious beliefs, but were denied because they made the request after September 1. These three employees were later terminated. See EEOC v. Mission Hospital, Inc., No. 1:16-CV-00118 (W.D.N.C.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently announced that Reliable Nissan agreed to settle charges of discrimination alleging race discrimination, national origin discrimination, religious discrimination, and retaliation. Employees claimed that two managers from the company repeatedly used the “n-word” during a meeting and used derogatory terms to refer to African-American, Native American, Muslim, and Hispanic employees. The employees alleged that the managers also made offensive jokes about the religious practices of Muslim and Native American employees, and that the workplace included offensive pictures towards minority employees. The employees further claimed that the managers used offensive terms including “n*****,” “drunken Indians,” and “redskins.” The alleged conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discrimination against employees on the basis of their race, religion, or national origin is illegal. It is also illegal to retaliate against employees who complain about such discrimination. The EEOC reported that Reliable Nissan agreed to pay $205,000 total to three employees who filed allegations of discrimination. See https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/10-11-17.cfm
EEOC Files Religious Discrimination Lawsuit Where Employer Required Female Employee to Wear Pants Instead of a Skirt
A Tim Horton’s franchise has been sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for allegedly failing to accommodate and terminating an employee due to her sincerely held religious beliefs. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleges that the employee, Amanda Corley, wore a skirt to work at one of the restaurant’s Michigan locations. Corley is a practicing Pentecostal Apostolic. In accordance with her religious beliefs, Corley wore a skirt instead of the standard pants required by the company. Corley attempted to provide the company with a letter from her pastor, which letter explained why she could not wear pants, but management for the company did not accept the letter and then fired Corley. See EEOC v. Sleneem Enterprises, LLC, No. 2:17-cv-12337 (E.D. Mich.).
EEOC Files Religious Discrimination Lawsuit for Failure to Accommodate Not Working the Jewish Sabbath
The EEOC recently filed a lawsuit against trucking company J.C. Witherspoon, Jr. Inc.. The lawsuit alleges that the company fired an employee truck driver for his religious beliefs. The Complaint claims that the employee was a 35-year practicing Hebrew Pentecostal, which required him not to engage in any labor on the Biblical Sabbath, which lasts from sunset on Fridays to sunset on Saturdays. The lawsuit also alleges that the employee informed the truck supervisor and foreman that he is a practicing Hebrew Pentecostal, and that he informed them about his observation of the Sabbath during his pre-hire interview. The employee told the foreman and supervisor that he would need to be accommodated by not working on Saturdays. Weeks after he was hired, the company required the employee to work on a Saturday, which he did while also informing the company that he would not work on Saturday again. About a year and a half later, the company demanded the he work on Saturday again, which the employee refused, and he was subsequently terminated. The alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their religion. See EEOC v. J.C. Witherspoon, Jr. Inc., No. 2:17-cv-00745 (D.S.C. 2017).
A company will reportedly pay $42,500 and other relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit that the EEOC filed alleging that the company refused to accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs and subsequently fired the employee for his religious beliefs for refusing to work on a Saturday. Cole’s religious beliefs mandated that he not work on Saturdays in observance of the Sabbath, and the company was typically closed on Saturdays, with only limited exceptions. The company requested that Cole work on a Saturday. Cole told the company that he could not work on Saturdays because of his religious beliefs, and the company fired Cole for refusing to work that Saturday. An employer cannot fire an employee for their sincerely-held religious beliefs pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII requires employers to provide employees with reasonable accommodations for their sincerely held religious beliefs unless the accommodations would create an undue hardship. See EEOC v. Greenville Ready Mix Concrete, Inc., No. 4:16-cv-00094 (E.D.N.C.).
National Tire and Battery has reportedly agreed to pay $22,500 to settle a national origin and religious discrimination lawsuit that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought on behalf of one of NTB’s former employees. The EEOC’s suit alleged that the employee was harassed by coworkers because of his religion and national origin by calling him “Taliban,” “al-Qaeda,” “bin Laden,” and “terrorist” and by accusing him of making bombs. The allegations also assert that the former employee constantly complained to management about the harassment, but nothing was done to stop it. National origin and religious discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See EEOC and NTW, LLC , No. 15-cv-1681 (N.D. Ill.).
The EEOC won its employment discrimination lawsuit against Consolidation Coal Company and its parent CONSOL Energy, Inc. The employee worked in Defendants’ mine for over 35 years when a new hand-scanning method was installed to track when employees clocked in and out of work. The employee informed Defendants that using the hand-scanning technology would violate his sincerely held religious beliefs as an Evangelical Christian. In response, Defendants refused to offer any alternate means of tracking the employee’s attendance and time and told him that he would be disciplined and perhaps discharged if he did not use the hand-scanner. The employee was forced to retire. The jury found that Defendants had violated federal law by forcing a long-time employee to retire because they refused to accommodate his sincerely-held religious beliefs. The Court issued an order awarding $586,860 in lost wages, benefits, and injunctive relief. Defendants were also permanently enjoined from committing similar acts in the future in violation of Title VII. Employers must grant reasonable accommodations for employee religious beliefs that conflict with work requirements pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, unless the reasonable accommodation would create an undue hardship on the employer’s business.
A hotel group has agreed to pay $45,000 to settle a religious discrimination charge filed by the EEOC. The hotel group was charged with refusing to provide a religious accommodation for one of their employees who had requested to have all Sabbaths off from work. Initially the request was honored until a change in management took place, after which her requests for religious accommodation were ignored. She was then fired. In addition to providing monetary relief to the employee, the hotel group will implement policies designed to prevent religious discrimination and conduct training on anti-retaliation and anti-discrimination laws. The hotel group will also be required to report any future requests for accommodation to the EEOC. See EEOC v. Landmark Hotel Group, LLC, No. 4:12-cv-158 (E.D.N.C.).