Login Register Subscribe
Current Issue

EEOC settlements illustrate the many paths to religious bias claims


Several settlements of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission religious discrimination cases illustrate the wide variety of issues the subject encompasses:

• Laurinburg, North Carolina-based Scottish Food Systems Inc. and Laurinburg KFC Take Home Inc., which operate a chain of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in the state, agreed to pay $40,000 last December for allegedly firing a convert to Pentecost-alism who refused to wear pants and would wear only dresses or skirts, saying it was against her religious beliefs.

• Miami-based Dynamic Medical Services Inc. agreed to pay $170,000 last December in a case in which it allegedly required employees to spend at least half of their work days in courses involving Scientology religious practices, such as screaming at ashtrays or staring at someone for eight hours without moving.

• Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald's Restaurants of California Inc. agreed in December to pay $50,000 for allegedly refusing a request from a Muslim employee, at a Fresno, California, restaurant it formerly owned, to grow a beard for religious reasons, which led to his being discharged.

• Albuquerque, New Mexico-based 704 HTL Operating L.L.C. and Investment Corp. of America, which do business as MCM Elegante Hotel In Albuquerque, agreed to pay $100,000 in November for allegedly terminating a Muslim housekeeper who refused to remove her head covering.

• Little Falls, New Jersey-based car dealership United Galaxy Inc. agreed to pay $50,000 last November for allegedly refusing to hire as a sales associate a man whose Sikh faith required him to wear a beard, uncut hair and a turban.

• Virginia Beach, Virginia-based Landmark Hotel Group L.L.C., which operates Comfort Inn Oceanfront South in Nags Head, North Carolina, agreed to pay $45,000 last July for allegedly refusing to permit a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to have a day off on her Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, and firing her.