Religious discrimination in the workplace and dress codes

by on December 31, 2008 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Religious discrimination in the workplace alleged over hair dispute

You may not like the looks of an applicant with dredlocked hair, but “dreds” may be a sign of the applicant’s religious convictions.

The EEOC has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against Winn-Dixie Raleigh, Inc. alleging that a Jacksonville, Florida store refused to hire an applicant because of his Rastafarian religion. Rastafarians keep their hair in long matted “dredlocks.” And the law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for sincerely held religious practices.

As the workplace becomes more and more diverse, managers need to be sensitive to religious practices that seem off the beaten path.

Source: CCH Labor Law Reports.
Rastafarian entitled to beard and job?

A package delivery company discriminated against a bearded Rastafarian by letting him apply only for a lower-paying inside job, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit.

The EEOC religious discrimination lawsuit said the company refused to hire him for a driver helper’s job in which he would have contact with the public, unless he shaved off the beard. This was discrimination, the EEOC said, adding that the firm should have accommodated the worker.

One EEOC official said workers shouldn’t be “hidden in the back room or paid inferior wages” for practicing their religion.

Cite: EEOC v. UPS.
Who wears the pants around here?

A woman who was fired for refusing to wear pants as part of her work uniform will be paid $30,000 by her employer.

When Carol Grotts, a Pentecostal, was hired by Brink’s as a uniformed messenger, she told the company that her religious beliefs precluded her from wearing pants, and she offered to buy culottes. Brink’s fired her, then hired her back, allowing her to wear culottes, after she filed a religious discrimination in the workplace complaint.

Under the agreement reached in court, Brink’s will also pay Grotts’ attorney fees and train its Peoria managers about religious discrimination.

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