Tag Archives: Religious Discrimination

Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: North Carolina Restaurant Settles EEOC “Religious Discrimination” Lawsuit For $40,000; Veteran Female Worker Fired For “Refusing To Wear Pants To Work”

The EEOC’s complaint alleged that the  companies informed Silver she must wear pants to work because of their dress  code policy.  According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionthe EEOC,  Silver told Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home she could not  wear pants because of her religious beliefs.   However, the companies ultimately fired her for refusing to wear pants  to work.

Scottish Food Systems,  Inc. and Laurinburg KFC Take Home, Inc. will pay $40,000 and furnish other  relief to resolve a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Com­mission (EEOC), the agency announced today.  Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take  Home are based in Laurinburg, N.C.  and  jointly operate a chain of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in North  Carolina.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, Sheila  Silver converted to Pentecostalism in 2010.   As a member of the Pentecostal church, Silver believes women cannot wear  pants.  In accordance with this religious  belief, Silver has not worn pants since the fall of 2010.  Silver has worked for various Kentucky Fried  Chicken restaurants since 1992.  Scottish  Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home purchased the KFC restaurant where  Silver worked in Rocky Mount, N.C., in April 2013.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil  Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which requires employers to reasonably  accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs as long as doing so would not pose  an undue hardship.  The EEOC filed suit on  September 19, 2013 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North  Carolina (EEOC v. Scottish Food Systems,  Inc. and Laurinburg KFC Take Home, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:13-CV-00796)  after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its  conciliation process.

In  addition to monetary damages, the three-year consent decree resolving the suit  requires Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home to adopt a formal  religious accommodation policy and to conduct an annual training program on the  requirements of Title VII and its prohibition against religious discrimination.  Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take  Home will also post a copy of their anti-discrimination policy at all of their  facilities.

“Employers  must accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious belief when such an  accommodation would not pose an undue hardship,” said  Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District  Office.  “This case demonstrates the  EEOC’s continued commitment to fighting religious discrimination in the  workplace.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing  federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment.  Further information about the EEOC is  available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov

For more: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-23-13.cfm

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Hospitality Industry Employment Risks: California Restaurant Group Settles “Religious Discrimination” Lawsuit With EEOC For $50,000; Trainer Fired For Growing Beard

“…The EEOC had charged that a restaurant formerly owned by McDonald’s in Fresno refused a request from a Muslim employee, a crew trainer, Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionto grow a beard for religious reasons which lead to his constructive discharge in September 2005…Aside from the monetary relief for the crew trainer, the two-year consent decree settling the suit provides that McDonald’s will reinforce training of its managers and staff and redistribute its existing policies related to religious discrimination and accommodation…”

McDonald’s Restaurants of California, Inc. will pay $50,000 and furnish other relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires that employers make reasonable accommodations to the sincerely held religious beliefs of employees and applicants as long as this causes no harm to the business.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (EEOC v. McDonald’s Restaurants of California, Inc., Case No. 1:13-cv-02065AWI-SAB) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“We commend McDonald’s for its commitment to training and ensuring that its staff and managers are well-versed on laws relating to religious discrimination,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office.  “We hope other employers follow McDonald’s lead in promoting training and development of extensive anti-discrimination policies.”

Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC’s Fresno Local Office, said, “Workers have the right to request an accommodation which would allow them to work while still practicing their religious beliefs.  Employers must consider such requests and ensure that no negative actions are taken against workers who exercise this right.”

The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at http://www.eeoc.gov.

For more: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-20-13a.cfm

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Pennsylvania Restaurant Sued By Worker For “Religious Discrimination”; Claims New Manager Reduced Hours, Created Hostile Work Environment

“…At the start of her employment, (the plaintiff) informed the defendant that she could not work on Thursdays and Sundays due to her religious Hospitality Industry Discrimination Lawsuitsbeliefs…In June 2011, after a woman identified as Aretha Foster became the plaintiff’s store manager, Matthews had her hours reduced to 15 a week from 35…The complaint alleges that Foster also subjected the plaintiff to an increasingly hostile work environment, that the supervisor would deny Matthews her breaks, and that the woman would verbally abuse the plaintiff in front of other staff members…”

A Jehovah’s Witness from southeastern Pennsylvania is suing a Louisiana-based restaurant over allegations that the company discriminated against her because of her religion. Jonna Matthews, who currently resides in Pottstown, Montgomery County, filed suit at the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on Nov. 26 against America’s Pizza Co. over the allegedly discriminatory treatment she received at the hands of the defendant while she was employed as a customer service representative beginning in early February 2011.

The plaintiff, however, maintains that she never asked for the reduction in hours and was still available to work Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The defendant stands accused of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination on the basis of religion.

“Plaintiff suffered adverse job actions, including, but not limited to, disciplines, denials of various opportunities, and termination,” the suit states.

For more:  http://pennrecord.com/news/12247-montco-woman-sues-louisiana-restaurant-over-religious-discrimination

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Hospitality Industry Employment Risks: New Mexico Hotel Settles EEOC “Religious Discrimination” Lawsuit For $100,000; Housekeeper Fired After Refusing To Remove Head Covering

 “…The EEOC lawsuit charged the employer with failing to allow Abdullah to work unless she removed her religious head covering, and fired her Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionwhen she declined to do so…the consent decree includes: an injunction prohibiting future discriminatory practices; institution of policies and procedures to address religious discrimination and retaliation; training for employees of MCM, and managers and human resource officials of both defendants on religious discrimination; and posting a notice advising employees of their rights under Title VII…”

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 U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for $100,000 and other relief.

The EEOC, in a news release, said the settlement resolves an EEOC lawsuit filed in September for alleged religious discrimination against Safia Abdullah, who was hired for a housekeeping position at the hotel. The hotel owners denied the allegations in the EEOC’s lawsuit and said in court papers they settled the case to avoid the risks and expenses of continued litigation.

For more: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/11-18-13.cfm

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: North Carolina Restaurant Operator Sued By EEOC For “Religious Discrimination”; Fired Woman For Wearing Skirts As Part Of Her Pentecostal Church Beliefs

“…(the employee, Sheila Silver, was) a member of the Pentecostal church (and believed) women should wear skirts in accordance with this EEOCreligious belief…Silver worked for various Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants since 1992.  Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home purchased the KFC restaurant where Silver worked in April 2013.  At that time, they informed Silver she must wear pants to work because of their dress code policy.  Silver told Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home she could not wear pants because of her religious beliefs.  The companies ultimately fired her for refusing to wear pants to work…”

Scottish Food Systems, Inc. and Laurinburg KFC Take Home, Inc., two North Carolina corporations that operate a chain of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in eastern North Carolina, violated federal law by failing to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs and firing her because of her religion, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in an employment discrimination lawsuit filed today.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employees’ due to their religious beliefs as long as doing so does not pose an undue hardship.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (EEOC v. Scottish Food Systems, Inc. d/b/a Kentucky Fried Chicken and Laurinburg KFC Take Home, Inc. d/b/a Kentucky Fried Chicken, Civil Action No. 1:13-CV-00796) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.  The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.

“Employers must respect employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs and carefully consider requests made by employees based on those beliefs,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, which includes the EEOC’s Raleigh Area Office, where the charge of discrimination was filed. “This case demonstrates the EEOC’s continued commitment to fighting religious discrimination in the workplace.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at http://www.eeoc.gov.

For more:  http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/9-19-13c.cfm

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: North Carolina Hotel Group Settles “Religious Discrimination” Lawsuit With EEOC For $45,000; Refused To Provide “Religious Accomodation” To Employee

“…The EEOC’s suit charged that the hotel group refused to provide Claudia Neal, a Seventh-Day Adventist, with a religious accommodation of not having to work on her Sabbath, which is from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday.  Neal began EEOCworking at the hotel in May 2009.  Initially, Neal’s request not to work on her Sabbath was honored.  However, a change in management occurred in October 2010, and in November of that year, the hotel group refused to provide her with a religious accommodation, and fired her…”

A hotel group which owns and operates the Comfort Inn Oceanfront South in Nags Head, N.C., has agreed to pay $45,000 and provide substantial additional relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on religion.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Eastern Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Landmark Hotel Group, LLC d/b/a Comfort Inn Oceanfront South; Dare Hospitality, LLC d/b/a Comfort Inn Oceanfront South; Jain and Associates, LP d/b/a Comfort Inn Oceanfront South; and JRS Partners, LLC d/b/a Comfort Inn Oceanfront South; Civil Action No. 4:12-cv-158) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to providing monetary relief to Neal, the hotel group will implement policies designed to prevent religious discrimination and conduct training on anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation laws.  The hotel group will also provide reports to the EEOC regarding future requests for religious accommodation.

“Employers need to understand their obligation to balance the conduct of their business with employees’ needs and rights to practice their religion,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “Where there is minimal impact on the business, those religious needs must be accommodated.  No person should ever be forced to choose between her religion and her job.”

For more:  http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/7-23-13.cfm

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: North Carolina Restaurant Operator Sued By EEOC For “Religious Discrimination”; Muslim Food Prep Worker Fired For Refusing To Cut Off Beard

“…(plaintiff) applied for a job with a Bojangles’ restaurant in Charlotte and was interviewed for a food prep position…the manager informed Charles that he might need to cut his beard, to which Charles responded that he could not cut his beard for religious reasons, informing her that EEOChe was a Muslim. Charles was hired and worked at the restaurant on May 18 without incident…Charles reminded the manager that he could not cut his beard because of his religion, and requested an accommodation of wearing a beard net, similar to a hair net, which the restaurant manager refused. The restaurant manager told Charles to leave the restaurant, and to not return to work until he shaved off his beard. Charles refused to shave his beard and was consequently fired…”

Bo-Cherry, Inc., a North Carolina corporation that operates several Bojangles’ restaurants in the Charlotte metro area, violated federal law when it failed to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs and then fired him because of his religion, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, Devin Charles has been a practicing Muslim for the past 14 years. As a male Muslim member of his sect of the Sunni branch of the Islamic faith, Charles is required to grow and maintain a beard and is not allowed to trim or cut his beard unless it exceeds the length of his fist when holding his beard in his closed hand under his chin, commonly referred to as “fist length.” In accordance with his sincerely held religious beliefs, Charles has not trimmed or cut his beard unless it exceeded a fist length

The manager instructed Charles that her supervisor, the district manager, had come to the restaurant, seen Charles’ beard and instructed her to tell Charles that he needed to shave off his beard to continue working for Bojangles’.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for the sincerely held religious beliefs of employees as long as doing so does not pose an undue hardship on the employer. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division (EEOC v. Bo-Cherry, Inc. d/b/a Bojangles, Civil Action No. 3:13-cv-00210) only after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages and reinstatement or front pay. The complaint also seeks injunctive relief.

“Under federal law, employers have an obligation to attempt a fair balance between an employee’s right to practice his or her religion and the operation of their business,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “This case demonstrates the EEOC’s commitment to fighting religious discrimination in the workplace.”

For more:  http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/4-4-13.cfm

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Texas Restaurant Group Settles EEOC “Religious Discrimination Lawsuit” For $25,000; Female Employee Prevented From Wearing Skirt To Work

“…Fries Restaurant Management has  agreed to pay Ashanti McShan $20,000 for “mental anguish and non-wage damages” and an additional $5,000 in lost wages…The restaurant management company also EEOCagreed to post its policy against religious discrimination on employee bulletin boards in every Burger King it operates in the state of Texas…”

A Burger King in Texas has agreed to pay $25,000 to a Pentecostal womanwho wore a skirt to work, court documents state. The payment settles a lawsuit filed in August by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Fries Restaurant Management, LLC, which owns and operates the Burger King in Grand Prairie, Texas. The store allegedly asked a teenage woman to leave work after she arrived in a skirt. The EEOC’s lawsuit against Fries alleged religious discrimination, which is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964.

In addition, it vowed to hold trainings for managers on federal anti-discrimination laws for the next two years, according to the documents.

McShan was a senior in high school when she came to work at the Burger King wearing a skirt instead of the black pants that are part of Burger King’s uniform.

In August 2010, McShan asked to wear a skirt instead of the restaurant’s uniform pants. Burger King “assured her that she could wear a skirt to work,” the filing says.

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: California Hotel Owner Found Guilty Of Violating “Unruh Civil Rights Act” For Discrimination Against Religious Group; $1.2 Million Statutory Damages And $440,000 In Punitive Damages Awarded By Jury To Plaintiffs

“…The jury decided on Wednesday that the hotel and Adaya violated California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which bars hotels and other business from discriminating on the basis of sex, race, color or religion…the hotel and owner were also ordered to pay approximately $440,000 in additional punitive damages to the plaintiffs…”

A Muslim hotel owner discriminated against a Jewish group during a Southern California poolside charity event by ordering removal of banners and ousting them from the pool and spa, a jury decided in awarding $1.2 million statutory damages. The suit was filed by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, whose members had gathered two years ago at Santa Monica’s ocean-view Hotel Shangri-LA, which is owned by Tehmina Adaya. The owner is a Muslim of Pakistani descent.

The event was organized by Platinum Events, a marketing firm that had organized other gatherings at the Shangri-La after a $30-million renovation three years ago.

Workers and security guards at the Art Deco hotel were acting on Adaya’s orders when they told members of the group to get out of the pool and spa and remove banners and literature, according to trial testimony.

In her testimony, Adaya denied ordering a halt to the event for fear that her family would cut off her financing. Adaya inherited control of the hotel from her father, Ahmad Adaya, a real estate tycoon and philanthropist who died in 2006.

For more:  http://www.jewishjournal.com/thenon-prophet/item/additional_440000_in_punitive_damages_imposed_on_hotel_shangri-la_20120816/

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Hospitality Industry Employment Risks: California Hotel Sued By Former Hostess For “Harassment And Religious Discrimination”

“…Boudlal alleges in a lawsuit filed Monday, that her co-workers began taunting her, calling the Moroccan-born Muslim a “terrorist,” a “camel” and someone who learned how to make bombs at her mosque. She complained to her managers verbally and in writing, she said, with no results…”

Imane Boudlal is suing Walt Disney Corp. in federal court, saying that she was discriminated against and harassed for her religious beliefs. She also alleges that she unfairly lost her job in 2010 after refusing to remove her head scarf at work.

“It’s been hard,” Boudlal said in an interview. “I thought it was just a matter of complaining and a few days, and it wouldn’t affect my life, but it turns out … nothing has been done.”

The lawsuit charges that Boudlal, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, decided to wear her hijab full time in 2010, about eight months after she began wearing it publicly. She contacted her supervisors at Disneyland to request an exemption to the company’s “look” policy — general appearance guidelines that, according to a Disney website, touch on items ranging from contact lens color and visible tattoos to personal hygiene.

For more:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-disney-muslim-lawsuit-20120814,0,2971071.story

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