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Food Lion sued for religious discrimination

California residents who are familiar with the regional supermarket chain Food Lion might be interested to know that the company is being sued for religious discrimination against an employee. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has charged the North Carolina-based grocery company with violating federal discrimination laws.

The complaint states that a male Jehovah's Witness elder and minister was hired for a meat cutting position at a Winston-Salem Food Lion location on June 6, 2011. Due to his religious responsibilities, he has to go to church meetings and services on Thursday evenings and Sundays, so he asked when he was hired to not be scheduled for work at those times. The manager of that store agreed to oblige the employee, but when he was transferred to another location, the manager told him that he did not know how he could work for the company if he is unable to be there on Sundays. The EEOC says that the man was fired 21 days after being hired because of this.

After unsuccessfully trying to settle the matter with Food Lion, the EEOC filed the lawsuit. The agency is seeking past and future non-pecuniary and pecuniary losses, along with back pay and compensatory damages. The claim also seeks injunctive relief and punitive damages.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employees are protected from workplace discrimination because of their national origin, race, sex, color and religious beliefs. The Act makes provisions for a worker's practice and observance of a religion, requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations for such beliefs unless doing so will cause undue hardship to the business. Workers who face discrimination similar to the claim in this lawsuit against Food Lion may be entitled to recover damages.

Source: Salisbury Post, "EEOC sues Food Lion for religious discrimination", August 20, 2014

Source: Salisbury Post, "EEOC sues Food Lion for religious discrimination", August 20, 2014

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