A Burger King franchisee in Texas has agreed to pay $25,000 to settle a case brought by the EEOC in which it alleged that a Pentecostal Christian cashier was fired for wearing a skirt to work. The employee, whose religion requires her to only wear skirts or dresses, contrary to the employer’s policy that she must wear pants, claimed that she had been initially promised an accommodation but that she was fired nonetheless.
Employers should be aware that in the US employers are required to accommodate the right of religious employees to wear religion-required clothes, tattoos or symbols as long as this does not cause an undue hardship to the employer.
We have discussed religious accommodation a lot in the last year, and on October 23, 2012 we commented that religion and the workplace is a big topic on both sides of the Atlantic, with the issue of religious liberty in the workplace bedeviling the courts.
We reported on September 3rd that that a group of four cases from the UK were coming before the European Court Of Human Rights involving practicing Christians who allege employment discrimination in violation of articles 9 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights – two lost their jobs because they refused to remove a cross or crucifix; the third objected to being required to perform civil-partnership ceremonies; and the last was fired because his religious beliefs prevented him from counseling same-sex couples.
The decisions have just been handed down and we will discuss them shortly.