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Lowe’s Home Centers To Pay $120,000 To Settle EEOC Religious Bias And Retaliation Lawsuit

Morristown Employee Denied Sabbath Accommodation, Federal Agency Charged

NASHVILLE  – Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc. will pay $120,000 and provide other relief in a  settlement of a religious discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the  U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced  today.

The EEOC’s  suit (Civil Action No. 2:10-cv-00063), filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern  District of Tennessee, charged that Lowe’s violated federal law when it refused  to reasonably accommodate the sincerely held religious belief of an employee at  its Morristown, Tenn.,store. The worker had requested being excused from  working on the Christian Sabbath.  Instead, the EEOC said, the company retaliated against him when it  scheduled him to work on the Sabbath for 27 out of 28 weeks.

Refusing to  provide a reasonable accommodation for a sincerely held religious belief,  absent undue hardship, and retaliating against an employee who makes such a  request violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court  for the Eastern District of Tennessee after first attempting to reach a  pre-litigation settlement through the conciliation process.

Besides providing monetary relief, the three-year consent  decree signed by Senior District Judge Leon Jordan on September 20, 2011,  enjoins Lowe’s from any future refusal to accommodate the sincerely held  religious beliefs of its employees or retaliating against any employee for  requesting a religious accommodation.  The decree provides that Lowe’s will make an addendum to its human  resource management guide. In addition,  Lowe’s will provide employment discrimination awareness training to its store  managers, assistant managers, and human resource managers in the East Tennessee area, and post a notice regarding the  settlement.

The  employee initially denied the reasonable accommodation now works in a position  that does not require him to work on his Sabbath.

“This  settlement ensures that this employee will continue to receive the  accommodation he should have been granted to begin with, and that managers and  human resource personnel understand heir obligations under the law,” said EEOC  Regional Attorney Faye A. Williams.

The EEOC enforces federal laws  prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at