A federal jury in Trenton has awarded $10,000 to a man denied a job at UPS because he refused to shave off his one-inch beard. Roniss Mason of Jersey City claimed shaving violated his Rastafarian religious beliefs and filed a complaint with the EEOC.
Both Title VII and New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination require employers to reasonably accommodate employees’ religious beliefs.
A UPS spokesperson claimed the company has a long-standing policy of accommodating religious beliefs. Clearly, the jury didn’t believe that policy was applied in this case. UPS has vowed to appeal. Perhaps it believes it only lost by a whisker.
Advice: Provide training on religious accommodation to all employees who make hiring, promotion and firing decisions.
EEOC guidance is available at www.eeoc.gov/types/religion.html.
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Know the difference between whistle-blowing and an employee looking for an excuse to sue
- Get ready for a new federally protected class: the unemployed
- Replacing worker with someone slightly younger isn't age bias
- Centerville dodges negligence charges in case of rogue cop