Best Ohio Religious Discrimination Attorney Answer: What laws protect employees against religious discrimination? What accommodations can I request to accommodate my religion in the workplace? Can I sue if my employer fired me because I requested a modified schedule as a religious accommodation?
In August, 2014, a federal religious discrimination lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina against Food Lion, LLC asserting that it wrongfully terminated an employee based because Food Lion would not accommodate that employee’s religious beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness. The employee, Victaurius Bailey, was hired as a meat cutter at a Food Lion store in Winston-Salem, N.C. Bailey, who is a Jehovah’s Witness minister and elder, is required to attend church services and church-related meetings on Sundays and Thursday evenings as a part of his faith. Due to his religious beliefs, upon hire Bailey asked that he not be scheduled to work on Sundays or on Thursday evenings. According to the complaint, the store manager for Food Lion initially agreed to accommodate Bailey’s request. However, when Bailey was transferred to work as a meat cutter at a second Food Lion location, the store manager there told Bailey that he did not see how Bailey could work for Food Lion if he could not work on Sundays. According to the complaint, Food Lion fired Bailey because he was not available to work on Sundays. Given that the employer had already accommodated this very reasonable religious accommodation request, it would have been very difficult for it to argue that it would be an undue burden for it to do so.
All employees are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and R.C. § 4112.02(A) from being discriminated against or retaliated against by their employers on the basis of their religion. Specifically, Title VII prohibits religious discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Similarly, Ohio Revised Code Section 4112.02 prohibits discrimination based on religion and these other protected classes as well. Our employment discrimination attorneys have blogged regularly on religious discrimination cases like this. (See Religious Discrimination: Can I Be Fired Based On The Dress Code?; Attorney Top Answers On Religious Discrimination: Can I Be Fired For Facial Hair?; Top Religion Discrimination Lawyer Reply: I Was Fired Because I’m Muslim; What Can I Do?; and Can I Be Denied A Job Because I Won’t Cut My Hair On Religious Grounds? I Need A Lawyer!).
In Food Lion, the complaint averred that despite its knowledge of Bailey’s sincerely held religious beliefs and practices, Food Lion scheduled Bailey to work Monday, June 20, 2011 through Sunday, June 26, 2011. Bailey did not work June 24, 2011 through June 26, 2011 because he attended the Jehovah’s Witness convention which he had been approved to attend by the Store Manager for Market Number 1044. The following day, he was terminated.
As a result of the religious discrimination lawsuit, Food Lion agreed to pay $50,500 to Bailey to settle. Food Lion has also agreed to a two-year consent decree, to be in effect within 90 days, that requires it to amend its anti-discrimination policy to include guidance on how the company will handle requests for religious accommodations. It also must provide annual training for managers and human resources specialists on the new policy provision that is to begin within six months.
If you feel that you are being discriminated or harassed based on your religion or religious beliefs or that you were wrongfully terminated because of you are Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Hindu or any other religion, the best course of action you can take is to call the right attorney at 866-797-6040 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, you will meet with a religious discrimination attorney, who will be able to tell you what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them.
The materials available at the top of this religious discrimination blog and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “How do I …”, “What should I do …,” “Can my boss discriminate against me because I’m (Jewish/Muslim/Mormon/Hindu)?” or “I was fired for my religious beliefs. The answer to “What can I do?”, is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular religious discrimination or other employment law issue or problem. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.