- Article Information
- Published on Friday, 10 May 2013 16:05
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has charged in a lawsuit that Dynamic Medical Services, Inc., a Miami company which provides medical and chiropractic services, violated federal law by requiring employees to attend courses that involved Scientology religious practices. According to the EEOC's suit, the company allegedly required Norma Rodriguez, Maykel Ruz, Rommy Sanchez, Yanileydis Capote and other employees to spend at least half their work days in courses that involved Scientology religious practices, such as screaming at ashtrays or staring at someone for eight hours without moving. The company also instructed employees to attend courses at the Church of Scientology. Additionally, the company required Sanchez to undergo an "audit" by connecting herself to an "E-meter," which Scientologists believe is a religious artifact, and required her to undergo "purification" treatment at the Church of Scientology. According to the EEOC's suit, employees repeatedly asked not to attend the courses but were told it was a requirement of the job. In the cases of Rodriguez and Sanchez, when they refused to participate in Scientology religious practices and/or did not conform to Scientology religious beliefs, they were terminated.
Requiring employees to conform to religious practices and beliefs espoused by the employer, creating a hostile work environment, and failing to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs of an employee all violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. "Employees' freedom from religious coercion at the workplace must be protected," said Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC's Miami District Office. "These actions are a shameful violation of federal law." Read More.
- Article Information
- Published on Thursday, 24 January 2013 02:54
Dallas-based Fries Restaurant Management, which operates numerous Burger King franchises in Texas, will pay a former employee $25,000 and furnish other relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Ashanti McShan, a member of the Christian Pentecostal Church, adheres to an interpretation of the Scripture that women should wear skirts or dresses. At the time she applied to work as a cashier at a Grand Prairie, Texas Burger King franchise operated by Fries Restaurant Management, she informed the interviewer of her need to wear a black skirt instead of black uniform pants as a religious accommodation. She was interviewed and hired by a shift manager, who told her at the time of her interview that her religious accommodation request could be granted.
However, when McShan arrived for orientation, she was told by store management that the employer would not allow her to wear a skirt and that she had to leave the store. McShan tried to explain to store management that the skirt was an accommodation of her religious beliefs, but was again told that she could not work in the skirt. McShan alleges that when she subsequently attempted to contact higher management, her calls went unreturned. McShan, who was in her teens, was allegedly terminated as a result of the accommodation denial.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits religious discrimination and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees' and applicants' sincerely held religious beliefs as long as this does not pose an undue hardship. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. Read More.
- Article Information
- Published on Monday, 10 September 2012 02:35
Governor Brown has signed AB 1964, which clarifies that the practice of wearing religious clothing or a religious hairstyle as a belief or observance is covered by protections under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. California employers thus face new restrictions regarding discrimination against employees for wearing any type of religious clothing or hairstyle (such was turbans, beards and hijabs). The new law also restricts employers from segregating a worker from customers or the public as a means of accommodating his or her religious beliefs. It says employers must accommodate a worker's religious practices unless doing so creates "significant difficulty or expense.'' AB 1964 also specifies that religious dress and grooming qualify as protected observances. The measure takes effect on January 1, 2013. Read More.
- Article Information
- Published on Saturday, 11 August 2012 06:17
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers must accommodate an employee’s or applicant’s sincerely held religious beliefs unless it creates an undue hardship. In a recent case involving alleged religious discrimination, Morningside House of Ellicott City (Morningside House), an assisted living center, has agreed to pay $25,000 and furnish other relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC charged that Morningside House denied hire to a Muslim job applicant because she refused to remove her hijab, a headscarf worn by Muslim women as a religious obligation. According to the EEOC, the director of health and wellness allegedly asked Khadijah Salim if she would be willing to remove her hijab. The director apparently expressed concerns that if she were hired, the hijab could interfere with her ability to work as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Salim responded that she had worn her hijab throughout her nursing training, which included working in the operating room, and it had never interfered with her ability to perform her duties. Although she was told she would be contacted if someone were interested in her, she was never contacted, nor was she one of ten CNAs who were hired by the employer in September 2010. EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence commented that “In this case, there was no undue hardship to the employer -- just an apparent overreaction to a reasonable request because of myths and stereotypes about a religion.” Read More.
- Article Information
- Published on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 14:39
Religious discrimination involves treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only applicant/employees who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs. Religious discrimination can also involve treating an employee differently because he or she is married to (or associated with) an individual of a particular religion or because of his or her connection with a religious organization or group.
Both federal and state law forbid discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. It is also illegal to harass an employee because of his or her religion. Harassment can include, for example, offensive remarks about a person’s religious beliefs or practices. Although the law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.
The law also requires an employer to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer's business. This means an employer may be required to make reasonable adjustments to the work environment that will allow an employee to practice his or her religion. Examples of some common religious accommodations include flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments, and modifications to workplace policies or practices.
In a recent case involving alleged religious discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has charged that the owners/operators of Comfort Inn Oceanfront South in Nags Head, N.C., violated federal law when they failed to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs and then terminated her because of her religion. According to the EEOC’s complaint, Claudia Neal, who worked as a front desk clerk at Comfort Inn Oceanfront South, is a Seventh-Day Adventist. Neal observes her Sabbath from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. In November 2010, the company's managers scheduled Neal to work the evening shift on Friday, December 24, 2010. Because the shift interfered with her Sabbath observance, Neal, who had previously been allowed to be off for her Sabbath by other managers at the hotel, explained that she could not work on that evening because of her Sabbath. The hotel managers refused Neal’s request and instead terminated her.
Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC commented that, “Employers must remember their duty to provide an accommodation for the sincerely held religious beliefs of their employees and applicants...An employee should not needlessly be forced to choose between her faith and her job when there are reasonable ways to accommodate both the employee’s religious observance and the employer’s scheduling needs. This case demonstrates the EEOC’s commitment to fighting religious discrimination in the workplace.” Read More.
- Two Hotel Groups Will Pay $365,000 To Settle Harassment Case
- Employers Cannot Deny Applicants Work Because Of Religious Beliefs
- Employer Must Accommodate an Employee’s Religious Beliefs
- EEOC Sues Employer for Alleged Religious Discrimination Based on Failure to Accommodate
- Taco Bell Restaurant Sued For Religious Discrimination
- Court Finds Abercrombie & Fitch Committed Religious Discrimination
- 9th Circuit Rules CDCR Did Not Commit Religious Discrimination
- Employer Must Consider Accommodating Employee's Religious Beliefs
- Some Employers Are Exempt From Prohibition Against Religious Discrimination
- Religious Discrimination Claim Can Be Costly
- Employer Must Pay $66K For Religious Discrimination
- Employers Must Accommodate Religious Beliefs