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PRESS RELEASE
6-19-18

Blue Moon Diner Sued by EEOC For Religious Discrimination

Farmington Diner Refused Muslim Employee's Request to Wear Head Scarf, Federal Agency Charges

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Blue Moon Diner LLC, in Farmington, violated federal law by subjecting a Muslim woman to religious discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

In its suit, the EEOC charges that the diner failed to accommodate employee Samantha Bandy's request to work while wearing a hijab, a head scarf worn by Muslim women for religious purposes. In addition, the EEOC alleges that the diner constructively discharged her because of her religion.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on religion and retaliation for opposition to discrimination. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico (EEOC v. Blue Moon Diner, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00567) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.

"We will vigorously prosecute cases of religious discrimination throughout our district, including claims that involve the employer's refusal to provide reasonable accommodation for an employee's religious beliefs," said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office. "We are particularly concerned when the accommodation requested is easy to provide and the employer appears to have reacted to myths or stereotypes about a religion."

The lawsuit asks the court to order the employer to provide Bandy with appropriate relief, including back wages, compensatory and punitive damages, and a permanent injunction enjoining the company from engaging in any further religious discrimination. The EEOC also asks the court to order the company to institute and carry out policies and practices that eradicate and prevent religious discrimination in the workplace.

EEOC District Director Elizabeth Cadle said, "We will not tolerate discrimination against employees who simply request the right to work with reasonable accommodation of their religion."

The EEOC Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

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.