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Lessons from the Courts: September ’16

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

Dreadlocks under hat wasn’t good enough. A man who tucked his dreadlocks under his hat for over a year without question or incident was fired from his Disney World kitchen job after an internal inspection raised the grooming issue. The man, a practicing Rastafarian, said he could not cut his hair because of his religious beliefs and was fired, according to an EEOC lawsuit filed against an Orlando staffing company.

Says the EEOC: A staffing company cannot avoid its legal obligation to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs based on a client’s appearance policy.

Not a doctor? Then don’t jump to medical conclusions. Carl, a Type I insulin diabetic, got a job offer to work on an offshore oil rig, but the employer revoked it when a physical exam revealed his condition, according to an ADA lawsuit filed by the EEOC. According to the suit, Carl has two years working offshore as a diabetic with no incident. The employer said Type I diabetics are “fragile” and determined that Carl was not qualified for the position of service technician simply because he has that condition. (EEOC v Oilfield Instrumentation, U.S.A., Inc.)

Predictable scheduling gains momentum. Now’s a good time to review your scheduling practices. State and local governments are looking to clamp down on employers that change worker schedules at the last minute, schedule multiple workers for peak times and send some home after the rush. Related legislation is also pending in Congress.

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