Employment Law

Religious Discrimination

What is an example of a discrimination case involving religion in which it was ruled that the employer did not accommodate the employee adequately?

In EEOC v. Texas Hydraulics, 583 F. Supp. 2d 904 (M.D. Tenn. 2008), an employee worked at a plant, but the employee’s religious beliefs prevented him from working on Saturday—the Sabbath day of his religion. For many years in the workplace this was not a problem. However, the employer’s business demands increased and the employer required the employee to work on Saturdays. After the employee failed to work on several Saturdays, he was terminated. The employee filed a claim of religious discrimination under Title VII. The employer later filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that the employee’s claim should be dismissed.

A reviewing federal district court refused to dismiss the employee’s claim and determined that there was evidence that the employer failed to reasonably accommodate the employee’s religious beliefs. According to the court, the employer could have:

  • Initiated a voluntary shift exchange with this employee and other employees.

  • Posted a notice asking other employees to work for the employee on Saturday.

  • Modified or changed the employee’s job so that he would not have to work nearly as many Saturday shifts.

Under the facts of this particular case, the reviewing federal district court determined that the employer did not make a good enough attempt at accommodating the employee’s religious practices.


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