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Food Lion sued by EEOC for workplace discrimination

Indiana residents might be interested to learn that a religious discrimination lawsuit was filed against the supermarket chain Food Lion on Aug. 20. The complaint was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a former Food Lion employee who is also a practicing Jehovah's Witness.

According to the complaint, the former Food Lion employee became the victim of workplace discrimination when a store manager would not accommodate his request to take Sundays and Thursday evenings off from his job as a meat cutter. When Food Lion first hired the Jehovah's Witness minister and elder, the store had allowed him to take time off for church services and meetings. After the man was transferred to a different store location, however, his new manager fired him because he could not work on Sundays.

The former Food Lion employee was hired on June 6, 2011 and fired three weeks later. To compensate for the workplace discrimination, the EEOC complaint is seeking back payment for lost wages, pecuniary and non-pecuniary losses, punitive damages, injunctive relief and compensatory damages. An attorney for EEOC has offered a public statement about the lawsuit in which she reminded employers of the need to train managers about their legal obligations to provide reasonable religious accommodations.

A person who has been fired from a job after making a reasonable request for religious accommodation may suffer consequences beyond the initial loss of their immediate income. As the individual looks for a new job, lack of a solid work history and positive work reference from their former employer may cause them to experience a prolonged period of unemployment. An attorney might be able to help a victim of workplace discrimination to seek compensation for the financial hardship they have suffered by filing a discrimination claim with the EEOC.

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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