Athat started with jewelry has escalated into a case of dueling lawsuits.
On one side: Jamie Errico, former vice president of sales for Manhattan watch retailer Concepts in Time, who has filed a gender and religious discrimination suit against her former employer. On the other: The store’s owners, who are suing Errico for trying to poach customers.
Errico, a Roman Catholic, claims her Orthodox Jewish bosses refused to allow her to wear a crucifix on the job, although Jewish employees were permitted to wear Star of David necklaces. She also contends that Jewish employees were allowed to leave work on the eve of Jewish holidays, but her pay was docked when she left early on Christmas Eve.
Concepts in Time fired Errico in December 2009 and she filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court seeking unspecified damages. Concepts in Time fired right back, suing Errico for allegedly attempting to solicit customers for a rival business.
Note: Errico originally took her complaint to the EEOC, which dismissed her case.
No matter who’s telling the truth, this case offers a cautionary tale for employers. If you favor one set of religious practices over another, you’re probably not going to fare well in court. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act requires employers to respect employees’ religious requirements as long as they do not create an undue burden for the business.