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