A restaurant manager in Charlotte, NC, told an employee to leave and not return until he’d shaved off his beard, something his religion forbade him to do.

As a result, the restaurant operator has been sued by the EEOC for religious discrimination.

Here’s what happened:

The restaurant interviewed the man for a food preparation position. In the interview, he explained that according to the teachings of the Islamic sect to which he belonged, he was required to maintain a beard. (Members of the sect can trim their beards when they exceed a certain length, but not shave them off.)

The man was hired, and his first day at work passed without incident. But the next day the manager told him he had to shave. The new employee suggested he wear a beard net as an accommodation, but the manager refused and sent him home. He was subsequently fired.

Remember: You may have to make exceptions to your organization’s dress/grooming policies to accommodate employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs. Check with HR if you’re not sure what to do.

Cite: EEOC v. Bo-Cherry Inc.

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