Butcher Supply Company Fired Muslim Afghan Woman for Complaining About National Origin and Religious Discrimination, Federal Agency Charged
ST. LOUIS -- KASCO, LLC, a St. Louis company which manufactures and sells butcher supplies and meat processing equipment, has agreed to pay $110,000 and furnish other relief to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The EEOC had charged KASCO with discrimination based on national origin and religion, as well as unlawful retaliation.
The EEOC filed suit against the company in August 2016, charging that KASCO had violated federal law by discriminating against an employee, Latifa Sidiqi, because of her adherence to Islam and her Afghan descent, and then firing her for complaining about it. When Sidiqi was written up for a job performance issue - an admonition she thought unjustified -- during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, she submitted a written rebuttal to human resources, pursuant to company policy. In that rebuttal, she wrote that the write-up had "everything to do with [her] coming from a Muslim background." Within three weeks of this rebuttal, Sidiqi was terminated for allegedly "falsifying time records." Sidiqi claimed, and the EEOC agreed, that this "time record" issue was pretextual, since other employees used "flex time" in the same manner Sidiqi did, but only she was fired for it.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin, as well as forbids retaliation against applicants or employees who complain about such discrimination. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. KASCO, LLC, Civil Action No. 4:16-cv-1333), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $110,000 in monetary relief, the three-year consent decree signed by Judge Rodney W. Sippel enjoins KASCO from violating Title VII in the future. KASCO also agreed to revise its anti-discrimination policies, and to provide annual anti-discrimination training to supervisory or management-level employees. The company will also report to the EEOC on how it handles any complaints of discrimination and post a notice regarding the settlement.
"Employers need to ensure that their policies and practices, like the federal laws they must follow, not only protect employees from discrimination, but also protect them against retaliation when they complain," said James R. Neely, Jr., director of the EEOC's St. Louis District Office.
Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC's regional attorney in St. Louis, added, "This fair and amicable settlement both compensates Ms. Sidiqi for her losses and will help protect others from discrimination and retaliation in the future."
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.