Not long ago, we discussed the case of a Muslim woman who filed a suit against Abercrombie and Fitch because the retailer fired her for wearing a head covering, which was part of her religious faith. Now we have another case of alleged religious discrimination against a Muslim employee. This time it is a Fresno man who was terminated from his job at McDonalds when he asked to grow a beard. At the time of his request, the employee had worked for the company for four years, and had been a crew trainer for a year.
McDonald’s Restaurants of California Inc., as part of an agreement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, will pay $50,000 to the man who was terminated in 2005 because of his request to grow a beard as part of his religious beliefs. The company has also agreed to remove any negative information from his employment records involving his request, and “to establish an anti-discrimination policy” for managers in the area restaurants that will include how to deal with employee requests that involve their religious beliefs. The company has also agreed to provide employees with information about their workplace rights, “including freedom from religious discrimination and retaliation.”
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employees have the right to ask for accommodations from employers for their “sincerely-held religious beliefs” as long as they don’t negatively impact the business. Anyone who has suffered discrimination, retaliation, or wrongful termination due to their religious beliefs can and should seek justice. An attorney who specializes in employment rights can help ensure that people who have suffered harm for practicing their religious faith in a manner that does not cause measurable harm to their employer receives the compensation they deserve to make up for the economic and emotional harm caused and that is needed to move forward in their lives.
Source: The Fresno Bee, “McDonald’s settles Fresno suit by Muslim employee banned from growing beard” Tim Sheehan, Dec. 20, 2013