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Grocer, baker, Sabbath-taker embroiled

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

A Dauphin County man who delivered Tastykakes to Giant Food stores is suing both the Tasty Baking Co. and the grocery store chain for religious discrimination after his contract was terminated. But Giant says it had no relationship with the deliveryman and wants to be removed from the suit.

Nathaniel Hawkins of Palmyra lost his contract with Tasty Baking following complaints from Giant that he wouldn’t make deliveries on Saturdays. Hawkins claims that amounts to religious discrimination because he is a Seventh-day Adventist who observes the Sabbath from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday.

Originally Hawkins hired another driver to make Saturday deliveries, but he quit. Hawkins compensated by delivering as soon as his Sabbath was completed Saturday nights or early on Sundays.

Tasty Baking claims Hawkins lost his contract only because of several incidents of subpar service.

Giant contends it should be removed from the lawsuit because it had no contractual relationship with Hawkins.

The suit seeks $1.8 million in damages. Hawkins is suing under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, which does not cap damages like the federal Civil Rights Act. However, it’s not clear that independent contractors have the right to sue for religious discrimination under state law. The federal Civil Rights Act protects employees, but not contractors.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Don March 10, 2012 at 1:17 am

Suing should be reserved as a last resort to defend one’s religious freedoms via legal means. Beyond that, Christians have no business suing to get punitive damages beyond actual loss, especially with the bad example of hiring someone to work on Sabbath for him already given.

To hide greed ($1.8 million!!) behind religious rights is terrible in my opinion.

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Yolanda H. February 21, 2012 at 7:53 am

I agree with Dustin as well, as Stewards of God and servants of man, Sda members do not believe in the business of suing to recover from harm done to and against us,we are to and be humble and forgiving in all areas of life as Jesus lived HIS life while on earth. To retaliate is to go against the very principles that we as SDA are taught in how we treat ALL individuals regardless how we are treated! It’s often hard to Not want to be compensated when you are in the right and your car is damaged to the fact that it is undrivable because of someone else’s negligence! But we as true christians who are to turn the other cheek sometimes fail to honor Christ’s example for living “for God says vengeance is Mine, I will repay, saith the LORD GOD! THE WICKED shall have their reward when Jesus comes again!

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Paul February 3, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Dustin is right. I had a deli business back in 2000 – 2001, but we kept the Sabbath by closing on Saturdays; which by the way is not a good profession if you are the Seventh Day Adventists! …Saturday being the most busiest day of the week and closing the store was a tough decision at first (but we never regreted our decision). Unfortunately we sold it due to lack of experience… I know a lot of our church members have businesses and in a similar situation as Nathaniel, but my opinion is leave it to the Lord and He will take good care of His followers…He will Bless and compensated more than enough if you keep the Sabbath Holy! Happy Sabbath!

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Dustin January 26, 2012 at 9:34 am

I think he shouldn’t be sueing. It sounds like everything was fine because for a while because the deliveries were being made by someone else at his direction. He and the company had no agreement to work around the Sabbath. On another note, he was not keeping the fourth commandment if he was subcontracting another driver to work the Sabbath delivery.
4th Commandment
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

That other driver was in his employ. We all make mistakes. Not passing judgement, just making a judgement call based on God’s word. I wish him all the best.00

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Peggy Ann Roche December 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Giant is requiring the deliveries, therefore they bare some responsibly. I have seen first hand how badly vendors get treated by some Giant management for not delivering on time, displays and some pretty petty things. Tasty Baking needs to honor the man’s religion.

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