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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/

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/

Taboo 2 Bar & Bistro Sued for Sexual Harassment by EEOC

By Peter Levine posted in Employment Law, Law, Sexual Harassment on November 26th, 2013

Sirdah Enterprises, Inc., Owner of Taboo 2, Filed With Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

According to a suit filed by the EEOC, Sirdah Enterprises, Inc., a company that owns and operates Taboo 2 Bar and Bistro, a popular Atlanta-area restaurant and nightclub, has allegedly violated federal law by subjecting female servers to repeated acts of sexual harassment by one of their managers.

The sexual harassment occurred throughout the six servers’ employment, occurring daily for some.  Allegedly, the harassment included groping, indecent exposures, explicit sex related comments, requests for sexual favors, and promises of better working assignments and other benefits if they engaged in sexual acts.  When some of the servers rejected these sexual advances, they were assigned to less profitable areas of the restaurant or had their work schedules negatively changed, which resulted in lower earning opportunities. Although the employees complained to other management about the harassment, nothing was done to stop it.

Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC, said, “Taboo 2 was aware of the sexually hostile work environment to which these young women were being subjected, but failed to take remedial measures as required under the law.  In addition to vindicating the rights of these seven women, this lawsuit is for the purpose of protecting the rights of current and future female employees.”

Alleged Working Conditions Unbearable Due to Sexual Harassment

The EEOC also alleged that because the working conditions were so unbearable five of the six women involved were forced to resign because they could no longer tolerate the abuse.

“This case involves charges of gross sexual harassment where a manager, an individual normally entrusted with ensuring that the rights of employees are protected, took advantage of these women by abusing his position of power,” said Bernice Kimbrough, district director for the EEOC.

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the servers, as well as injunctive relief in order to prevent any misconduct in the future.

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

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