Atlanta restaurant scheduled employee to work in violation of her religious beliefs, then fired her for not working, federal agency charges
ATLANTA — Del Frisco’s of Georgia, LLC, an Atlanta-based restaurant, violated federal law by firing a server when his religious beliefs conflicted with his work schedule, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission has charged. of Employment (EEOC) in a lawsuit she filed today.
According to the EEOC lawsuit, beginning in January 2019, the employee requested and was granted accommodation to not work Tuesday evenings and Sunday mornings so that she could attend prayer and church services. Del Frisco scheduled the employee to work on Tuesday, December 31, 2019, in conflict with her existing religious accommodation and her need to attend prayer services that evening. The employee reminded her supervisors of her religious conflict, but she was not removed from the schedule. When the employee didn’t show up for work that day, Del Frisco fired her.
Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits firing an employee because of her religion and requires that sincere religious beliefs be considered by employers. The EEOC filed a lawsuit (Civil Action No. 1:22-CV-2234 MHC JKL) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Division of Atlanta, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking back wages, initial awards, compensatory damages, and punitive damages for the employee, and an injunction to prevent future discrimination.
“Federal law requires employers to accommodate the sincere religious beliefs of their employees where it is not an undue burden on the employer,” said Marcus G. Keegan, regional attorney for the district office. of Atlanta from the EEOC. “Del Frisco’s could have easily continued to accommodate its employee’s religious accommodation of not working a Tuesday evening, but chose to schedule it anyway, and that harsh inflexibility cost her her livelihood. The EEOC is prepared to protect the rights of these employees.
Darrell Graham, district director of the Atlanta office, said, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is intended, in part, to protect religious pluralism in our country. Del Frisco forced her employee into the untenable position of choosing between her job and her religious beliefs, and no one should have to make that choice.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.