Blog

MCM Elegante Hotel Pays $100k in EEOC Religious Discrimination Suit

By Peter Levine posted in Discrimination, Employment Law, Law on December 4th, 2013

MCM Elegante Hotel agrees to pay $100,000 to Safia Abdullah for EEOC religious discrimination suit

704 HTL Operating, LLC and Investment Corporation of America, doing business as MCM Elegante Hotel in Albuquerque, has agreed to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC for $100,000 and other relief on behalf of Safia Abdullah.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that this employer would not allow Abdullah, who was hired for a housekeeping position at the hotel, to work unless she removed her religious head covering. The lawsuit alleges she was fired when she declined.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This Act makes it unlawful to discharge any applicant or employee because of religion or religious practices, including requesting religious accommodation. The law further provides that employers have a duty to provide reasonable accommodation for sincerely held religious beliefs and practices of employees, unless doing so would cause an undue hardship. Such accommodations may include allowing individuals to wear religious clothing or take time off for religious observances.

Religious Discrimination suit against Elegante includes additional injunctions

In addition to monetary relief, the ruling provides for other important relief, including an injunction that prohibits future discriminatory practices; institution of policies and procedures to address religious discrimination and retaliation; training for employees, managers, and human resource officials of both defendants on religious discrimination. The company must also post a notice that advises employees of their rights under Title VII.

“Employers should be aware that they have a duty to provide reasonable accommodation to employees’ religious beliefs and practices,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC. “Wearing a religious head covering is a common religious practice which employers can usually accommodate without any undue hardship.”

EEOC Area Director Derick Newton said, “Religious discrimination continues to be a high priority for the EEOC, and we take this issue very seriously.”

Peter K. Levine
A Professional Law Corporation
http://www.employmentforall.org/

Tri-County Lexus Settles Religious Discrimination Suit for $50,000

By Peter Levine posted in Discrimination, Employment Law, Law on December 3rd, 2013

Tri-County Lexus Refused to Hire Sikh Applicant and Provide Religious Accommodation

United Galaxy Inc., a car dealership in New Jersey doing business as Tri-County Lexus, will pay $50,000 and provide other significant relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of Gurpreet Kherha, a member of the Sikh faith whose religious beliefs require him to wear a beard, uncut hair and a turban.

According to the lawsuit, Tri-County Lexus strictly enforced its dress code policy without granting reasonable religious accommodations, and thus refused to hire Kherha when he applied for an available position as a sales associate.  The EEOC deemed he was qualified for the position.

The agency is charging that Kherha was denied the job when he refused to shave his beard on Tri-County Lexus’ request.

Religious discrimination is violation of Tittle VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Religious discrimination in employment is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which provides that employers may not discriminate on the basis of an employee’s or applicant’s religion. Where appropriate, the employer must provide reasonable accommodations to sincerely-held religious beliefs or practices.

“This case represents an example of EEOC’s commitment to vindicating the employment rights of those who want to observe their religion,” said District Director Kevin Berry of the EEOC.

In addition to the $50,000 in monetary relief to Kherha, the two-year consent decree that resolves the lawsuit prevents Tri-County Lexus from discriminating on the basis of religion in the future.Tri-County Lexus must also provide anti-discrimination training to both employees and management as well a post a notice regarding the resolution of the lawsuit. The dealership must also appoint an EEO coordinator to ensure compliance with federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.

EEOC Regional Attorney Elizabeth Grossman added, “We are pleased that Tri-County Lexus partnered with us to resolve this suit.  This settlement will protect employees and future applicants from religious discrimination and inform all that the EEOC will take vigorous action to remedy it.  It will also serve as a vehicle to educate other employers about the Sikh faith.”

Peter K. Levine
A Professional Law Corporation
http://www.employmentforall.org/

New Horizons sued by Union over wage compliance on big project

By Peter Levine posted in Discrimination, Employment Law, Law on December 2nd, 2013

Laborers’ International Union sues New Horizons  Enterprises LLC for wage noncompliance on major construction project

The Laborers’ International Union of North America is suing New Horizons Enterprises LLC for allegedly failing to comply with prevailing wage laws during the construction of the Commonwealth Project – a $60 million redevelopment in Kansas City’s Midtown — that includes a total of 12 apartment buildings with 600 apartments.

New Horizons, a subcontractor for the project brought on workers to remove asbestos. But court papers allege that New Horizons did not pay the required wages for the work that was done. Many employees are alleging they were paid only $17.50 an hour. According to the petition, semiskilled laborers, which include workers hired to remove asbestos, are required to be paid $26.55 in addition to fringe benefits of an additional $13.75 — a total of $40.30.

Allegedly, when the workers complained, “New Horizons retaliated against some of these employees, firing at least one of them.”

But New Horizons contends that contracts with the workers state that the work was not prevailing wage work.

New Horizon’s attorney claims wage dispute is without merit

Kim Seten, the attorney representing New Horizons said in a statement that, “New Horizons pays its employees fairly and complies with all applicable laws, including Missouri’s Prevailing Wage and Minimum Wage laws. New Horizons intends to vigorously defend itself against these meritless allegations. Laborers’ International Union of North America, Local 246 is not an appropriate party to any such action and has no standing to bring such a lawsuit.”

In another statement, Seten said, “New Horizons anticipates that the lawsuit will be dismissed quickly due to baseless allegations.”

E.E. Keenan, an attorney representing plaintiffs said that because public tax credits were used for the Commonwealth Project, Missouri law stipulates that workers must meet prevailing wage laws.

“Nobody can contract around the law.” Keenan went on to say that typically unions rely on the government to pursue resolution of these types of conflicts, but an “underutilized” portion of Missouri law allows private parties to bring litigation.

“We still see the government’s enforcement as very valuable,” Keenan said. “But we’re stepping in as a movement and directly enforcing these wages as well.”

The class includes an estimated 50 employees that are seeking double the unpaid prevailing and overtime wages, pre- and post-judgment interest, and attorney costs.

Peter K. Levine
A Professional Law Corporation
http://www.employmentforall.org/

Let's Get Started
Schedule a Free Consultation

2+3 =

I have read and understand the disclaimer

Call Us (323) 934-1234

Office Location
Follow Phillips Lerner, A Law Corporation on Twitter Connect with Phillips Lerner, A Law Corporation on Facebook. Linked In Profile for Phillips Lerner, A Law Corporation YouTube
We provide legal services & no cost consultations to individuals in the following languages, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese