Tuesday, December 31, 2013

EEOC Wins Settlements In 3 Religious Discrimination Cases

During the past two weeks, the EEOC announced the settlement of three religious discrimination lawsuits. Each involves damages for the individual victim(s) as well as changes in the company's anti-discrimination policies and/or its training for managers and employees:
  • McDonald's Restaurants of California agreed to pay $50,000 and reinforce training in order to settle charges that it refused to permit a Muslim employee, a crew trainer, to grow a beard for religious reasons. The refusal led to his constructive discharge. (Dec. 20 EEOC press release.) 
  • Two companies which operate a chain of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in North Carolina agreed to pay $40,000, adopt a formal religious accommodation policy and conduct annual training to settle charges that it fired a female Pentecostal employee after she refused for religious reasons to comply with dress code requirements that she wear pants. (Dec. 23 EEOC press release.)
  • A federal district court entered a consent decree settling charges that Dynamic Medical Services, a Florida medical and chiropractic services provider, required a number of its employees to spend at least half their work days in courses that involved  Scientology religious practices, instructed employees to attend courses at the Church of  Scientology, and told one employee to undergo a Scientology "audit." Two employees were terminated when they refused to participate.  The company agreed to pay $170,000 in damages to 8 employees or former employees, and in the future to accommodate employees who object on religious grounds to participating in religious courses or other religious work-related activities. (Dec. 23 EEOC press release.)