Construction Company Refused Sabbath Accommodation for Seventh-Day Adventist Workers, Federal Agency Charged
RALEIGH, N.C. – A Goldsboro, N.C.-based construction company will pay $47,500 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC had charged that the T.A. Loving Company discriminated against Elvis Cifuentes Angel and two other individuals who worked for T.A. Loving Company as laborers when it fired them for refusing to work on their Sabbath. Cifuentes Angel and the other laborers are members of the Seventh-Day Adventist faith, which prohibits work on a member’s Sabbath, which runs from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and applicants because of their religion and requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer.
In addition to the $47,500 in compensatory damages to be shared between Cifuentes Angel and the two other laborers, the three-year consent decree resolving the case (EEOC v. T.A. Loving Company, Case No. 5 :10-CV-00054 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina) includes injunctions enjoining T.A. Loving from engaging in further religious discrimination; requires anti-discrimination training; the posting of a notice about the EEOC; and reporting by the company on individuals who have requested religious accommodations or reported religious discrimination to the EEOC for monitoring.
“Employers must respect employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs and carefully consider requests made by employees based on those beliefs,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “This begins by employers educating supervisors and managers who are called upon to make decisions on employees' requests for religious accommodation. No person should be forced to choose between their religion and their job when the company can provide an accommodation without suffering an undue hardship.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available at its website at www.eeoc.gov.