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Press Release 06-06-2022

EEOC Sues Del Frisco’s of Georgia for Firing Employee Because of Her Religion

Atlanta Restaurant Scheduled Employee to Work in Violation of Her Religious Beliefs, Then Fired Her for Not Working, Federal Agency Charges

ATLANTA – Del Frisco’s of Georgia, LLC, a restaurant located in Atlanta, violated federal law by firing a server when her religious beliefs conflicted with her work schedule, the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, beginning in January 2019, the employee requested and was granted an accommodation of not working on Tuesday evenings and Sunday mornings so she could attend prayer and church services. Del Frisco’s scheduled the employee to work on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, in conflict with her existing religious accommodation and her need to attend prayer services that evening. The employee reminded her supervisors of her religious conflict, but she was not taken off the schedule. When the employee did not appear for work on that day, Del Frisco’s fired her.  

Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discharging an employee because of her religion and requires that sincerely held religious beliefs be accommodated by employers. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:22-CV-2234 MHC JKL) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation pro­cess. The EEOC is seeking back pay, front pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for the employee, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimina­tion.

“Federal law requires that employers accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of their employees when it is not an undue burden for the employer,” said Marcus G. Keegan, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “Del Frisco’s could have easily continued to accommodate its employee’s religious accommodation of not working on Tuesdays for one evening, but chose to schedule her anyway, and this harsh inflexibility caused her to lose her livelihood. The EEOC stands ready to protect the rights of such employees.”

Darrell Graham, district director of the Atlanta office, said, “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is meant, in part, to protect the religious pluralism in our country. Del Frisco’s forced its employee into the untenable position of choosing between her job and religious beliefs, and no one should have to make that choice.”

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.