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Employee Unlawfully Fired Due To His Religious Beliefs EEOC Discrimination Lawsuit Alleges

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For the past two decades, our Ocala, Florida unlawful termination attorneys have fought for the rights of Florida employees who have been unlawfully terminated in violation of the federal employment laws. Having litigated unlawful termination cases in Florida courts for more than twenty years, our Marion County, Florida unlawful termination lawyers know that employers often refuse to accommodate the religious beliefs of employees. In far too many cases, our Ocala, Florida unlawful termination attorneys have learned, employers force employees to choose between their religious beliefs and their job. In this article, our Ocala, Florida unlawful termination lawyers explain how a recent religious discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) illustrates that the federal employment laws protect employees from having to choose between their religious beliefs and their job.

Unlawful Termination Lawsuit

On June 17, 2021, the EEOC issued a press release announcing that it has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against AscensionPointe Recovery Systems, LLC (APRS). On June 17, 2021, the EEOC filed the religious discrimination case, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. AscensionPointe Recovery Systems, LLC, Case No. 0:21-cv-01428, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Before commencing legal proceedings in federal court, the EEOC first tried to resolve the alleged discriminatory employment practices through conciliation. Unable to reach a satisfactory agreement through conciliation efforts, the EEOC moved forward with attempting to resolve the alleged discriminatory employment practices by filing the lawsuit.

Unlawful Termination Victims’ Rights

The EEOC has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) on behalf of a former employee of APRS, Henry Harrington (Harrington). Title VII makes it an unlawful employment practice for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of religion. Under Title VII, the term “religion” is defined to include all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief. Title VII imposes an obligation on employers to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs of employees when they conflict with employment requirements unless the employer demonstrates that an accommodation would impose an undue hardship. When an employer fails to accommodate an employee’s religious belief that conflicts with an employment requirement, and then uses the employee’s failure to comply with the employment requirement as a basis to fire the employee, the employee has been unlawfully terminated on the basis of religion in violation of Title VII, unless the employer proves that accommodating the employee’s religious belief would have imposed an undue hardship.

EEOC Claims Unlawful Termination

APRS is a Minnesota-based estate and probate recovery company that manages decedent debt recovery for creditors. On July 26, 2017, APRS sent an email to Harrington requesting that he be fingerprinted. In response, Harrington informed APRS that the fingerprinting requirement conflicted with his religious beliefs and requested an exemption from the fingerprinting requirement as an accommodation for his religious beliefs. Harrington is a Christian and has a sincere religious belief that he should refrain from having his fingerprints captured.

Later that same day, APRS met with Harrington and reiterated that he was required to comply with the fingerprinting requirement. During this meeting, Harrington again declined to be fingerprinted due to his sincerely held religious beliefs. APRS, according to the EEOC, failed to explore any alternatives to fingerprinting as an accommodation of Harrington’s religious beliefs. Later that same day, APRS terminated Harrington because of his refusal to comply with APRS’s fingerprinting requirement.

Lawyers For Unlawful Termination Victims

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States charged with interpreting and enforcing the federal employment laws prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. In order to protect employees against unlawful discriminatory employment practices, the EEOC brings lawsuits in federal court on behalf of employment discrimination victims, including religious discrimination victims.

In a press release issued by the EEOC on June 17, 2021 regarding the case, a regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District Office, Gregory Gochanour, explained that “an employee should not have to choose between his faith and his livelihood.” “The EEOC is committed to enforcing the rights of religious employees,” Mr. Gochanour added, “and Title VII requires that an employer attempt to find a workable solution when an employee’s sincerely held religious observance or practice conflicts with a work requirement.” In commenting on the case, the Director of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office, Julianne Bowman, explained that “employers cannot refuse to provide a religious accommodation unless it presents an undue hardship.” “Despite this obligation,” Ms. Bowman observed, “APRS fired this employee the same day of his accommodation request—failing even to explore readily available solutions.”

Ocala, FL Unlawful Termination Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing workers throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida unlawful termination attorneys have represented employment discrimination victims for more than two decades. If you have denied an accommodation for your religious beliefs or have questions about an employer’s obligation to accommodate your religious beliefs, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida unlawful termination lawyers. Our employee rights law firm takes unlawful termination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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