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Nags Head hotel settles suit over religious accommodation

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

A hotel company that owns a Com­­fort Inn in Nags Head on the Outer Banks has agreed to settle a religious discrimination case after it stopped accommodating an employee’s religious needs.

A woman who is a practicing Seventh-day Adventist worked for the hotel for several years. All that time, she was excused from working from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday in accordance with her be­­liefs. When a new management team took over in 2010, it refused to continue the accommodation.

She filed an EEOC complaint claiming she was being denied religious accommodations in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The hotel has agreed to pay the woman $45,000 and train its man­­agers how to avoid religious discrimination. The hotel owners must inform the EEOC of future religious accommodation requests.

Note: Employers may only refuse a religious accommodation by showing it is unreasonable (in terms of cost or workplace inconvenience) to provide it. When an accommodation has worked for many years, it is hard to make that argument.

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