Friday, September 26, 2008

EEOC Sues to Protect Christian Woman's Rights at Work

Should a company be able to fire a Christian woman because she won't wear a short skirt or pants? She worked at a clothing store with a dress code that conflicted with her religious beliefs. The dress code won. At first.

But employers cannot legally discriminate against workers because of their religious beliefs. Employers are required by federal law to provide reasonable accommodations for the beliefs when it's not unduly burdensome.

Is it unduly burdensome for the store to let her wear skirts an inch below her knees?

The EEOC seeks to recover back pay for the worker and also asks for reinstatement, punitive damages, and costs for the lawsuit, which was filed yesterday in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Missouri, EEOC v. J. M. Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. The stores have 20 days from the date they were served with the lawsuit to file an Answer or a motion to dismiss the suit. I honestly don't know what their defense is. Maybe they will say they fired her for other reasons.

Just for fun, ask youself whether it would it change your opinion of this case if the worker was fired for wearing the Muslim religious dress, like a hijab head scarf or burka? Do you think there could be elements of sexism at work here too?

Read the EEOC's guidance on religious discrimination here: Religion

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