Category Archives: Religion

An Employer Cannot Discriminate Against An Employee Based on Religion

Headscarf Firing Hijab Muslim Religion Discrimination Employment LawyerReligious Discrimination in the Workplace – Both federal and California law prohibit discrimination based on religion and require employers to make reasonable accommodations for their employees’ religious beliefs that are associated with traditional religions, such as observances and certain practices. For example, an employee is a devout Christian and attends mass every Sunday morning, however his employer forces him to come into work Sunday morning despite being notified that he attends church every Sunday. The employee refuses citing religious reasons and is terminated. Here, the employer has violated the law by terminating the employee due to his religion. Further, the employer failed to accommodate the employee.

EEOC v. Abercrombie and Fitch Stores, Inc.

Here is a case that occurred a couple years ago that is a great example of religious discrimination in the workplace. Although it is not a California case, it is still shows what an employer should not do in the event their employee seeks a valid religious accommodation.

Khan worked for Abercrombie and Fitch in the stockroom. She worked there for roughly five months. Khan is a Muslim teenage woman and wears a hijab as is tradition in the Muslim religion. When she was first employed Khan was told that her hijabs must match Hollister colors. She agreed to this. However, later in her employment she was told that her hijab was against company dress code. Abercrombie told her that if she did not remove her hijab, she would be removed from the work schedule. Khan was fired for refusing to remove her hijab.

In a religious discrimination case, the person discriminated against must show that he or she holds a bona fide belief in her religion, that her or his religious beliefs conflict with a particular job duty, and finally that the employer took adverse action against the employee based on his or her religious beliefs. Here, Khan let Abercrombie know that she was a devout Muslim. Second, that her religion prohibited her from removing her hijab which conflicted with Abercrombie’s demand that she remove it. And finally, Abercrombie fired her because of her refusal to remove her hijab due to her religious beliefs. Abercrombie tried to argue that Khan wearing a hijab caused undue hardship to Abercrombie because Abercrombie’s economic success depended in-store employees looking a certain way. The court disagreed with Abercrombie’s argument because Abercrombie did not show actual loss to constitute undue hardship. The court ruled in favor of Khan and found there was in fact religious discrimination.

Contact an Employment Lawyer if You Have Been Discriminated Against

The freedom to practice one’s religion is rooted in the foundation of this country. EEOC v. Abercrombie and Fitch Stores, Inc. is a victory for employees. While an employer may be able to tell you how to do your job, an employer cannot dictate how and when an employee practices his or her religion. If your employer has taken adverse action against you for your religious beliefs, contact an religious discrimination lawyer today!

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Religious Discrimination Settlement

On September 27, 2013, the EEOC  settled a case against Maita Chevrolet Geo on behalf of Plaintiff (EEOC v. Maita Chevrolet Geo). It was a religious discrimination case. Plaintiff contended that the employee and his pastor told Maita that the employee could not work Friday evenings and Saturdays during the daytime because of his religion. In response, Plaintiff contended that Maita repeatedly scheduled the employee for those time periods in retaliation. Plaintiff also argued that Maita refused to allow the employee to work on Sundays if he missed a Saturday workday.

Plaintiff also argued that Defendant harassed him because of his beliefs and retaliated against him for taking a leave of absence to observe the Sabbath. Then Maita fired the employee because of his religion.

Defendant had some pretty decent arguments. It argued that Plaintiff made conflicting accommodation requests and Plaintiff repeatedly showed up to work on the Sabbath when not scheduled to do so. It also argued that Plaintiff was fired because he stopped showing up to work, not because of his religion.

Regardless, the parties agreed to a settlement of $158,000. The settlement was observed by Judge Morrison England in USDC Eastern District.

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