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Construction firm settles religious discrimination case

Posted September 24, 2010

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— A Goldsboro construction company will pay $47,500 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, officials announced Friday.

The EEOC had charged that T.A. Loving Co. discriminated against three men by firing them for refusing to work on Saturdays, which is their Sabbath as members of the Seventh-Day Adventist faith.

In addition to the $47,500 settlement to be shared by the three workers, the three-year consent decree resolving the case includes court orders to prohibit T.A. Loving from engaging in further religious discrimination and re¬quire anti-discrimination training for company managers. The company also must tell the EEOC whenever workers request religious accommodations or report religious discrimination.

“Employers must respect employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs and carefully consider requests made by employees based on those beliefs,” Lynette Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, said in a statement. “No person should be forced to choose between their religion and their job when the company can provide an accommodation without suffering an undue hardship.”

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  • Wolfheel Tarpack Sep 24, 2010

    The company didn't handle it correctly.

    They could of fired them at different times for fluff reasons and they couldn't of done anything about it.

    We don't know if the company handled it correctly or incorrectly. We don't know if if the employees had a valid complaint or if they ELECTED to not come in one Saturday opposed to other Saturdays or if they informed the employer they were not available to work on Saturdays prior to or during their hiring regardless of religious argument.

    We just know a suit was filed and the company paid as a trial would have been a lot more. Heck, just having their attorney review the materials and present in court would have cost about $20,000 to $30,000 regardless of the company's guilt or innocence -- they don't get the free legal representation like the routine violent offenders do at our taxpayer expense.

  • luckn4u2 Sep 24, 2010

    I can't believe the EEOC has actually acted upon a case and the winner's were average worker's going against a large construction company with money..

  • Tax Man Sep 24, 2010

    Quite simple - ask a non-religious question on the application "Are you available to work on Saturdays?" and if they say NO do not hire them, if they say yes and then later refuse to work fire them for the false application. If you want to work for me, you must do the work I have when I have it. Otherwise, don't bother applying! If your religion prevents you from doing things in the workforce you MUST tell the prospective employer up front and not raise the issue later! I don't discriminate against anyone - they all do it my way or they don't work for me! All of them!

  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness Sep 24, 2010

    Is Good Friday a holiday day of obligation for you? Do you believe that by taking the Eucharist as the true Body and true Blood of Jesus Christ by which you come to receive grace and the forgiveness of sin?

    Another instance the double-standard is if a pharmacist wants to claim a "conscientious exception" for fulfilling certain medications for women, people will gladly support that. In fact, it was quite the hot topic a few years back.

    I am just calling a double standard because I believe there is one...

  • timbo 2.0 Sep 24, 2010

    The company didn't handle it correctly.

    They could of fired them at different times for fluff reasons and they couldn't of done anything about it.

  • uncw05 Sep 24, 2010

    BSEE-View - it is not about missing church, it is that they believe it is a day of rest and you are not supposed to work.

  • BSEE-View Sep 24, 2010

    I support other people's religious rights; however, they had better respect mine and not get bent out of shape if I say, "Merry Christmas". Fair is fair. I am tired of being under attack because of what I believe, just like they are. Just get on with it. I would let the guys take off if it truly was a religious thing. Some other employees probably would be glad to get the overtime in this economy.

  • Wolfheel Tarpack Sep 24, 2010

    Lone Voice in the Wilderness - Actually, my employer has asked that I use happy holidays instead of Merry Christmas, we used to send Christmas (oops ... holiday cards) to clients -- now we send Thanksgiving cards and/or News Year's cards to clients and have required me to work on Sundays and Good Friday, despite my 9-t, M-F job and having previously had Good Friday as a holiday. Am I suing or complaining -- no, happy to be employed and know that I can choose to go elsewhere if I don't like their actions.

  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness Sep 24, 2010

    I do wish we had the ability to edit our previous comments. Obviously, "story" should be "store."

    As for Golfdiva:
    T. A. Loving in Goldsboro. Have you googled them? I'm sure you could apply if you really, really meant it.

  • BSEE-View Sep 24, 2010

    I like to go to church on Sunday, but occasionally I have work or such that I have to do and I miss church. Only happens on occasion, so not a problem. Don't see why these guys could not do the same for an occasional Saturday. Now, might be different if it was required every Saturday. Then we would have a problem if that was not stated when the job was started.

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