The EEOC has just sued a North Carolina fast food franchisee for revoking a job offer to a Seventh-day Adventist because he could not work on Sabbath.
The plaintiff, whose religious beliefs forbid him to work on the Sabbath – from sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday – claimed that he was offered a position as a donut maker, but when he was informed that he would begin work on that Friday at 3 pm, he told the manager that his religious faith forbid that. The job offer was revoked. The franchise has now been sued.
Recently we published a post entitled “Accommodate Religious Beliefs: The EEOC Is Watching,” and referred readers to a post of ours from October 26, 2013, in which we recommended an article in the Wall Street Journal (page B1) about the increasing number of claims of religious discrimination: “Part of the surge comes from employees – Muslims, Christians, Seventh-Day Adventists and others – who were denied requests to avoid work on Sabbath days. Conflicts also have erupted over workers’ appearance, particularly in jobs requiring uniforms, involving food preparation and in image-focused fashion retailing.”
On October 2, 2013 we posted about a California car dealership which had just settled an EEOC religious discrimination lawsuit for $158,000, a case based upon the claim of a Nigerian employee, a Seventh-day Adventist, who was refused the accommodation of not working from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, his Sabbath. When he took such leave he was harassed and then fired.
An EEOC attorney said then that “Employers must recognize the value of diversity in their workforce, including religious diversity, and not harass or discriminate against those of different faiths or religious practices.”
Another EEOC trial attorney said what we always advise employers: “Businesses have a clear legal duty under federal law to handle requests for religious accommodations from their employees with due amounts of consideration.”