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Goldsboro builder settles bias case with Adventists

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources

Goldsboro-based construction company T.A. Loving has settled a religious discrimination complaint for $47,500.

Elvis Cifuentes Angel and two other workers filed the complaint stating that Loving forced them to work on their religion’s Sabbath. All three workers are Seventh-day Adventists who follow the traditional Hebrew Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

They had asked Loving to set their schedules in a way that accommodated their religious needs.

Loving fired the three workers after they refused to work on the Sabbath. That’s when Angel and the other Adventist employees filed an EEOC complaint alleging religious discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Initial attempts at voluntary conciliation failed, forcing the EEOC to file suit. Rather than face a jury, Loving decided to settle.

Note: When employees request religious accommodations, you must respond in a constructive way. You can’t simply reject requests—and you certainly can’t retaliate by firing the workers. Evaluate religious accommodation requests on the basis of whether the accommodation would create an undue hardship for your business. That means showing the costs and workplace disruption the business would incur if the accommodation were granted. That information is vital to defend the decision to deny the accommodation.

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