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Employee Unlawfully Fired After Her Religious Accommodation Was Revoked EEOC Lawsuit Charges

Religious Discrimination claim and pen on a table.

On September 24, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a press release announcing that it has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against Quest Diagnostics, Inc. (Quest). On September 23, 2020, the EEOC filed the lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Quest Diagnostics, Inc., Case No. 3:20-cv-02939, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Before filing the lawsuit in federal court, the EEOC endeavored to resolve the alleged unlawful discriminatory employment practices through voluntary conciliation. Conciliation efforts having failed, the EEOC moved forward with attempting to resolve the alleged unlawful discriminatory employment practices through federal court litigation. In this article, our Marion County, Florida lawyers for unlawful termination victims explain the EEOC’s allegations of religious discrimination against Quest.

Legal Protection Against Unlawful Termination

The EEOC has commenced the federal court lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) on behalf of a former employee of Quest, Paulette Grandison (Grandison). Under Title VII, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of religion. Title VII also requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs of employees when they conflict with employment requirements, unless accommodating an employee’s religious beliefs would impose undue hardship. Employers bear the burden of proving that accommodating an employee’s religious beliefs would impose an undue hardship on the operation of their business. The purpose of the Title VII’s reasonable accommodation requirement is to impose an obligation on employers to engage in good faith efforts to resolve a conflict between an employee’s religious beliefs and an employment requirement. Thus, Title VII not only imposes an obligation on employers not to discriminate against employees on the basis of religion, Title VII also imposes a duty on employers to reasonable accommodate employees’ religious beliefs.

The EEOC claims that Quest discriminated against Grandison in violation of Title VII by refusing to reasonably accommodate her religious beliefs and subsequently terminating her employment because of her religion.

Worker Claims Unlawful Termination

Quest is a provider of medical diagnostic information services that aid in the diagnosis and detection of diseases. Grandison is a Seventh-Day Adventists. Grandison has a sincerely held religious belief that she cannot work on her Sabbath, from sundown on Friday to sundown on Sunday. This sincerely held religious belief also prohibits her from asking others to work for her on the Sabbath. In August 2008, Grandison was hired by Quest as a phlebotomist. Grandison notified Quest of her prohibition against working on her Sabbath. Quest approved Grandison’s request for an accommodation of her religion and did not schedule Grandison to work on her Sabbath for a ten-year period from August 2008 through September 2018.

On September 21, 2018, Grandison was notified by her supervisor that Quest would no longer be able to accommodate her religious prohibition against working on the Sabbath. Grandison provided documentation to Quest from the Texas Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists attesting to her religious-based need to be excused from working on her Sabbath. On March 4, 2019, Quests’ human resources department denied Grandisons request for a religious accommodation and informed Grandison that providing her with this religious accommodation would impose an undue hardship on other employees.

Grandison honored her religious obligation and called-out from work on every Saturday shift that she was scheduled to work following the revocation of her religious accommodation: November 24, 2018; December 29, 2018; February 2, 2019; March 9, 2019; and April 14, 2019. On April 25, 2019, Quest terminated Grandison’s employment. The EEOC maintains that Grandison was denied a reasonable accommodation for her religious beliefs and fired by Quest because of her religion in violation of Title VII. In the litigation, Quest bears the burden of proving that accommodating Grandison’s religious beliefs would have imposed an undue hardship on the operation of its business.

Attorneys For Unlawful Termination Victims

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States charged by federal law with interpreting and enforcing federal employment and labor laws making religious discrimination an unlawful discriminatory employment practice. As part of its statutory mission to promote equal opportunity in the workplace and eradicate unlawful discriminatory employment practices, the EEOC brings lawsuits on behalf of employment discrimination victims, including employees discriminated on the basis of religion. In a press release issued by the EEOC on September, 2020 regarding the case, a trial attorney for the EEOC’s Dallas District Office, Meaghan Kuelbs, stated that “this dedicated employee was placed in the untenable position of being forced to choose between her religious beliefs and her job after 10 years of successful performance for the company.” “The EEOC is fully committed,” Ms. Kuelbs added, “to enforcing laws that protect employees in the workplace from discrimination on the basis of religion.”

Unlawful Termination Lawyers In Ocala, FL

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida attorneys for unlawful termination victims have litigated employment and labor law cases in Florida courts for more than two decades. If you have been unlawfully terminated or have questions about your protection against unlawful termination under the federal employment and labor laws, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida lawyers for unlawful termination victims. Our employment and labor law attorneys take 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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