Texas Burger King Franchise Sued For Religious Discrimination
The U.S. (EEOC) filed suit against a Texas Burger King franchise alleging that it violated federal law by firing a cashier on her first day of work because of her religion. The EEOC filed the lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas on behalf of Ashanti McShan, who got a job at a Dallas Burger King two summers ago as a high school senior.
McShan is a member of the Pentecostal Church, which is a variation of Christianity that emphasizes fundamentalist principles. The group adheres to an interpretation of the scripture that clothing corresponds to the specific gender of the wearer. During her job interview, McShan informed management of her faith and she was assured that she would be allowed to work in a skirt instead of the Burger King uniform pants. However, when McShan arrived for orientation, she was told that her skirt was unacceptable and she was sent home. Her subsequent calls to higher management went unanswered and McShan was never asked to return to work.
“Accommodating Ms. McShan’s religious beliefs would have been simple and cost the company nothing, “said EEOC Trial Attorney Meaghan Shepard. Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino of the EEOC’s Dallas District Office added, “We haven’t come far enough in our respect of religious liberties at the workplace if we have employers saying that uniform policies trump a religious observance without articulation of any hardship posed by letting an employee ‘hold the pickles’ and ‘hold the lettuce’ while wearing a skirt.”
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits an employer from discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The law requires an employer to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer’s business. Shepard said that McShan made a “simple request.”
The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief to ensure that no further discrimination takes place.
If you feel that you have been the victim of discrimination in your workplace, please contact Khorrami LLP for a private consultation.