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Employer fails to alter dress code for religious beliefs

Federal laws require employers to make reasonable accommodations for workers with special circumstances, such as health issues or religious beliefs. When California employers refuse to make those accommodations, the worker may have a case for discrimination. Recently, a woman in another state contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when her new employer refused to make adjustments to the company's dress code to accommodate the woman's religious beliefs.

EEOC has assisted a waitress in filing a lawsuit against a southern-themed restaurant because it says the owner wrongfully terminated the waitress just days after she was hired. The waitress claims the manager did not inform her of the dress code for the restaurant, which requires waitresses to wear blue jeans. Because her beliefs as a Pentecostal Christian do not allow her to wear pants, the woman requested to be allowed to wear a denim skirt instead. She received no reply, so she wore the skirt to work.

The manager sent her home for violating the dress code and called her the next day to inform her she had been terminated because of her inability to abide by the policy. The EEOC says the restaurant could have made a reasonable accommodation for the woman's religious beliefs. The woman is seeking lost wages and wants the court to issue an injunction to prevent future incidents of discrimination.

It is not a rare occurrence for companies to wrongfully terminate employees based on religious beliefs or to refuse to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate those beliefs. When this happens, the employees have every right to see justice. Those in California who face this kind of discrimination can find an advocate in an employment law attorney.

Source: The Washington Post, "Mississippi restaurant sued after Christian waitress is allegedly fired for wearing a skirt to work", Justin Wm. Moyer, Sept. 28, 2017

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