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Religious Discrimination Lawsuit Against Taco Bell Operator Settled for $27K

April 28, 2012

In a previous Westminster labor and employment attorneys blog, Vincent Howard discussed a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in July 2011, on behalf of former Taco Bell employee Christopher Abbey--who accused his employer of religious discrimination and wrongful termination based on his religion.

According to an EEOC announcement released this week, Family Foods, Inc., the company that operates a number of North Carolina-based Taco Bell restaurants, including the restaurant that Abbey worked for, will pay a settlement of $27,000 to end the religious discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit.

Abbey, who was employed at the Taco Bell restaurant from 2004 until his termination in 2010, had not cut his hair since he was fifteen years old in order to observe his religious beliefs as a practicing Nazirite. The religious discrimination lawsuit stated that in April of 2010, Family Foods told Abbey that he must cut his hair, in order to comply with Taco Bell's restaurant grooming policy.

According to the EEOC, after Abbey explained that according to his Nazirite religious practices he could not cut his long hair, he was informed by the company that if he did not cut his hair, his employment would be terminated. Abbey claims his religious practices were not reasonably accommodated.

As Vincent Howard has discussed previously, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are required to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs that are sincerely held, as long as they do not cause undue hardship on the company.

In addition to paying the $27,000, as part of the two-year consent decree, Family Foods must adopt a formal religious accommodation policy and conduct yearly training on the federal laws that ban workplace discrimination based on religion and retaliation.

Howard Law, PC represents individuals in cities throughout Orange County, California, who have experienced religious discrimination in the workplace. Contact attorney Vincent Howard today, to discuss your labor and employment rights over a free consultation.

Taco Bell Operator Pays $27,000 to Resolve EEOC Religious Discrimination Lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), April 27, 2012

Related Web Resources:

California Department of Industrial Relations, (DIR)

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)

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