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UPS Ordered to Pay $70k in EEOC Religious Discrimination Lawsuit

By Peter Levine posted in Discrimination, Employment Law, Law on November 27th, 2013

UPS to Pay $70,000 in Settlement Over an EEOC Religious Discrimination Lawsuit

In a religious accommodation lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), the world’s largest package delivery company, has agreed to pay $70,000 as well as furnish significant injunctive relief to the plaintiff, a Jehovah’s Witness whom UPS hired as a part-time loader at its Saddle Brook, N.J. facility.

Shortly after his new-employee orientation with UPS the plaintiff, Christopher Pompey made a request for a schedule change in order to attend an annual religious service, claiming it conflicted with his obligation to transport senior members of his congregation to the Memorial, the most solemn event of the year for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Request for Schedule Change to Attend Service was Religious Discrimination

His supervisor and human resources department denied the request for a schedule change. When he took part in the service and did not return to work the plaintiff was terminated. The EEOC contended that the refusal to grant the request for a schedule accommodation in addition to the termination of the plaintiff constituted religious discrimination.

Furthermore, the lawsuit alleged that when Pompey applied for a job with the UPS in a different location he learned he had been placed on a company-wide “do not rehire” list and was unable to get another job with UPS after re-applying elsewhere.

The EEOC charged that the hiring manager’s actions were in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes religious discrimination in the workplace illegal. It also requires companies to make reasonable accommodations for religious practices, absent an undue hardship to the employer.

In addition to paying the $70,000 in damages to the plaintiff, UPS is prevented from discriminating against employees based on their religion, or from retaliating against employees for opposing that discrimination in the future. Additionally, the company must post its policy outlining the necessary steps for requesting accommodation for any religious event throughout its Saddle Brook location, as well as conduct anti-discrimination training for managers and supervisors, as well as discuss the policy with employees at the location during pre-work meetings.

“We are pleased that this resolution puts mechanisms in place to make it clear that employees are entitled to reasonable accommodation of their religious practices,” said Elizabeth Grossman, regional attorney for the EEOC.

Charles F. Coleman Jr., an EEOC Trial Attorney added, “Religious discrimination in the workplace cannot be tolerated. Businesses have a clear legal duty under federal law to handle requests for religious accommodations from their employees with due amounts of consideration.”

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

Apple sued for unpaid wages and overtime compensation

By Peter Levine posted in Law, Unpaid Overtime on August 25th, 2013

Apple required off-the-clock security bag searches

Two former Apple Inc. retail employees have sued the tech giant for “millions of dollars” for unpaid wages and overtime compensation. They allege hourly employees had to wait in line and undergo off-the-clock security bag searches after they had clocked out.

Amanda Frlekin alleges when she clocked out for her uncompensated meal breaks and at the end of her shift, she waited for at least five to 10 minutes, without compensation, as other employees had their bags checked. In total this comes to about 50 minutes to 1.5 hours a week of unpaid overtime, totaling to about $1,500 in wages not paid over the course of a year.

The other plaintiff, Dean Pelle, is making similar claims about required bag inspections when he worked in Apple’s stores.

Like other retail employees, the company’s employee conduct manual specifies that all employees are subject to personal bag searches, and if refused employees, can be subject to termination.

Apple charged with California Labor Code violations

The plaintiffs allege by not compensating its retail workers for this waiting time, Apple has violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as the California Labor Code for nonpayment of the minimum wage, overtime wages and wage statement penalties, in addition to the California Unfair Competition Law for “unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice,” and New York Labor Law for nonpayment of wages and unpaid overtime.

Yana Walton, communications director for the retail worker advocacy group, Retail Action Project, stated her organization has “secured back wages for hundreds of retail workers who have experienced wage theft” in New York City.

“Unfortunately, retail workers experience wage theft in many ways, and like employees at Forever 21 and Polo Ralph Lauren who filed similar suits, unpaid mandatory job functions are tantamount to wage theft,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Apple told ABC News that the company does not comment on pending litigation. The plaintiffs and their attorneys did not respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.

Frlekin and Pelle are hoping to expand their lawsuit into a class action that represents Apple retail employees over the past three years. Lawyers representing the plaintiffs are also hoping to represent retail employees in Apple’s California and New York stores for even longer periods, the Associated Press reported.

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