The religious accommodations companies must make for employees

Companies can be subject to a religious discrimination lawsuit when they fail to make religious accommodations for employees.

Such was the case when the EEOC sued Greyhound Bus on behalf of a Muslim woman.

Details of the Case

A Muslim woman applied to Greyhound Lines, Inc. for a public bus driver position. During the job interview, she asked the interviewer whether she could wear an abaya at work. An abaya is a full-length, loose-fitting garment that conceals the woman’s figure and has the purpose of protecting her modesty. The interviewer assured her that the abaya would not be a problem. However, when Greyhound accepted the applicant into its training program, the trainer advised her she could not wear the abaya and would have to wear the Greyhound uniform. Another Muslim employee had previously agreed to this requirement.

How was this a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act?

Title VII prohibits religious discrimination and requires employers to make accommodations to employees based on their sincerely held religious beliefs. The only exception is when doing so creates extreme hardship for the employer.

The EEOC first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement on behalf of the Muslim applicant through their reconciliation process. When that failed, they sued Greyhound. At that point the company worked with the EEOC and reached a settlement.

Settlement Details

Greyhound agreed to the following settlement terms:

  • $45,000 in monetary relief to the applicant
  • Two-year consent decree that enjoins Greyhound’s officers and management staff with supervisor responsibilities from discriminating based on religion
  • Staff training regarding religious accommodations
  • Training staff on the importance of interactive communication and flexibility in discussing solutions for conflict resolution
  • Reporting to the EEOC on how the company is handling religious accommodation requests
  • Posting a notice regarding the settlement

An Experienced Attorney Can Help You Deal with Religious Discrimination

For many years, the Law Office of Peter A. Romero has dealt successfully with all types of discrimination cases. We provide representation to clients throughout NYC, including in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Harlem/Upper Manhattan. Call us at (631) 257-5588 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.