Owner of Taco Bell Restaurant Chains Sued for Religious Discrimination
July 29, 2011
In a recent Carson, California employment lawyers blog, our attorneys reported on religious discrimination in the workplace, covering a series of lawsuits that were filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), on behalf of individuals who were reportedly discriminated on based on their religious beliefs and practices.
In a related EEOC lawsuit that our Temecula, California attorneys have been following, a corporation that runs Taco Bell restaurants in North Carolina has been accused by the commission by violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, by neglecting to reasonably accommodate the religious practices and beliefs of an employee, and firing him based on his religion.
According to the lawsuit, Christopher Abbey, a practicing Nazirite, had worked at the Taco Bell restaurant since 2004. In order to observe his religious practices and beliefs, Abbey had not cut his hair since he was fifteen. In April of 2010, Family Foods, the corporation owning the chain, reportedly told a 25-year-old Abbey that he had to cut his hair in order to comply with Taco Bell's grooming policy.
Abbey explained that according to his religious practices he could not cut his hair. The company reportedly failed to reasonably accommodate Abbey's religious practices and gave him an ultimatum--that if he didn't cut his hair, his employment would be terminated.
The EEOC enforces the federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination. Under these federal laws, employers are required reasonably accommodate an employee's sincerely held religious beliefs, as long as doing so does not pose undue hardship on the company.
The EEOC is seeking back pay, employment reinstatement, as well as punitive and compensatory damages for Abbey, and injunctive relief. The lawsuit was filed after the EEOC tried to reach a settlement with the company.
In cities throughout Orange County, California, Howard Law, PC represents individuals who have experienced religious discrimination in the workplace. Contact our attorneys today, for a free consultation about your California labor and employment rights.
Taco Bell Owner Sued by EEOC for Religious Discrimination, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Press Release, July 28, 2011
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