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April 17, 2014

UPS Sued By EEOC for Religious Discrimination

Package  Delivery Company Fired Jehovah's Witness Over His Request to Attend Annual  Service, Federal Agency Charges

Global package delivery company United Parcel  Service, Inc. (UPS) violated federal anti-discrimination law when it fired a  truck loader because of his request to attend an annual Jehovah's Witness  service, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a  lawsuit it filed November 29, 2012.

According to the EEOC's suit, UPS failed to accommodate the  request of a newly hired truck loader at its Saddle Brook, N.J. facility to  modify his schedule so that he could attend the Memorial of Christ's Death, an  annual religious service, pursuant to his beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness.  The employee requested that he either start a  different day, start later than his scheduled time on his start date, or be  given an hour's leave during his shift to attend the ceremony and return to  work.  UPS denied his request, the EEOC  said, requiring that he report to work as scheduled, and told him this was  non-negotiable.  When the employee  refused to compromise his religious beliefs and attended the Memorial instead of  reporting to work, UPS fired him.  UPS  also assigned him a "do not hire" status, and refused to hire him when he  applied for a different position at UPS's Staten Island facility.

This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights  Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed the lawsuit  in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (Civil Action No.: 2:12-CV-07334)  after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court.

"Federal law requires employers to make reasonable  accommodations for their employees' religious beliefs and practices," said  Elizabeth Grossman, regional attorney of the EEOC New York District Office.  "Where a request for a religious accommodation does not result in an undue  hardship to the employer, the employee's request must be respected."

Ana Consuelo Martinez, trial attorney in the New York  District Office, added, "The law protects employees from having to choose  between their religion and their employment, especially when an employee's  religious needs only minimally impact the employer." 

The EEOC's New York District Office has jurisdiction over  Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island,  Vermont, and portions of New Jersey.

© Copyright 2013 - U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

About the Author

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

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