American retailer Wal-Mart has agreed to pay $70,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to TheJobMouse.com. The EEOC filed the suit after a Wal-Mart store manager in Colville, Washington faced retaliation for observing the Sabbath, part of his faith as a devout Mormon.
According to complaint reports, the employee observed the Sabbath as a Wal-Mart employee uninterrupted from 1995 through 2009. In 2009, Wal-Mart revised its schedule for employees and refused to accommodate the employee’s wishes of observing the Sabbath. The manager was punished; his employer wrote him up as absent from work when he was unable to get a shift covered on the Sabbath.
Wal-Mart’s refusal to reasonably accommodate the manager’s religious beliefs is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As long as the employee’s request does not “pose an undue hardship,” Wal-Mart is required to let the employee practice his or her religion.
“No one should have to choose between their faith and their work,” said Attorney William R. Tamayo of the EEOC San Francisco office. “Accommodating a long-time, dedicated employee is a sound business practice. And federal law clearly obligates employers to provide an employee with reasonable accommodation unless it poses an undue hardship. This settlement is a fair and reasonable resolution of the lawsuit.”
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment attorneys