Logistics Company Rescinded Job Offer to Jewish Employee Who Could Not Work on Rosh Hashanah, Federal Agency Charges
BALTIMORE - XPO Last Mile, Inc., a logistics company that specializes in the delivery of items such as office furniture, home furnishings and fitness equipment, violated federal law when it refused to hire someone who could not work on Rosh Hashanah due to his religious beliefs, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
XPO Last Mile hired Tzvi McCloud for a dispatcher/customer service position at its Elkridge, Md., office. According to the suit, when the operations manager called McCloud and told him to report to work on Oct. 3, 2016, McCloud advised that he could not start on that date because he celebrated the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, on that date. The operations manager replied that he thought it would be acceptable for McCloud to start on Oct. 4. Later that evening, however, the market vice president called and told McCloud he must report to work on Oct. 3. The EEOC said the market vice president told McCloud that the company only honored federal holidays, and that if he gave McCloud a religious accommodation, he would have to extend them to other employees.
McCloud did not report to work on Oct. 3 due to his mandatory religious observance. When he reported to work on Oct. 4, he was sent home. The EEOC said XPO Last Mile violated federal law when it revoked its offer of employment because McCloud was unable to work on Rosh Hashanah.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on religion and requires employers to reasonably accommodate an applicant or employee's sincerely held religious beliefs unless it would pose an undue hardship. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division (EEOC v. XPO Last Mile, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-01342-JKB), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, reinstatement, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.
"Federal law requires employers to make reasonable adjustments to work schedules or rules that will allow an applicant or employee to practice his or her religion unless it would be an undue hardship," said EEOC Philadelphia District Office Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. "Unfortunately, XPO Last Mile's intransigent refusal to provide a religious accommodation cost them the services of a hard worker and led to this lawsuit."
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "The freedom to exercise one's religious beliefs is one of our nation's fundamental values. Mr. McCloud simply asked if he could start work one day later than scheduled so he could observe Rosh Hashanah, one of the Jewish High Holy Days. A one-day postponement of a start date is not an undue hardship."
The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. The legal staff of the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecutes discrimination cases arising from Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
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.