Local News

Religious discrimination alleged at Crabtree Belk store

Posted July 29, 2010

— The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Belk Inc. on Thursday, alleging that the chain's department store at Crabtree Valley Mall fired a woman because of her religious beliefs.

The lawsuit alleges that Myra Jones-Abid was working as a gift wrapper at Belk's in November 2008 when store managers ordered her to wear a Santa hat and Christmas-themed apron during the holiday season.

Jones-Abid is a Jehovah's Witness, and her religious practices prohibit her from celebrating holidays like Christmas, according to the lawsuit. When she explained why she couldn't wear the hat and apron, store managers fired her, the suit states.

The lawsuit seeks back pay for Jones-Abid and a court order requiring Belk's to implement policies that would prohibit religious discrimination.


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  • ddeserres Aug 2, 2010

    Interesting that the EEOC goes after a department store for something so trivial, but can't find the courage to go after a GOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR for something really serious!!!

  • ddeserres Aug 2, 2010

    What happened to her is nothing compared to what happened to me at Cree.


    read my profile if you're curious.

  • imsosorry Aug 2, 2010

    I bet she didnt turn down her Christmas bonus !!!

  • genegeneandnancy Jul 30, 2010

    You go TaxMan! Right On! Since when is a santa hat or apron considered to be a religion??

  • heaf200 Jul 30, 2010

    What is the difference in her WRAPPING CHRISTMAS presents and WEARING the "UNIFORM" that was required for her job. SHE WAS WRAPPING CHRISTMAS PRESENTS, the HAT and APRON WOULDN'T HAVE MEANT, ANYMORE THAN WRAPPING THE PRESENTS, THAT SHE WAS "CELEBRATING". She is just looking for a quick buck. Get over it.

  • Dat MoFo Jul 29, 2010

    ""isn't nc an employ at will state?"

    Right to work. And, yes, you can be fired for any reason here."

    They are not the same thing. Right to work means you can get a job without joining a union. Work at will means you can quit without reason and also be fored without reason unless you are under contract. I do think laws regarding discrimination still apply though. I would throw the lawsuit out. She doesn't have to celebrate Christmas, just wear the Santa hat and apron.

  • Tax Man Jul 29, 2010

    If all employees had to wear the "uniform" then she should have to as well - they weren't celebrating anything, they were wrapping gifts. Now, if they discriminated against her alone because of her religion that would be wrong. Problem is this whole thing just makes us customers pay more money for what we buy. Are Jehovah's witnesses the people who wake me up on Saturday morning with the Watchtower magazine that says the world is ending?

  • whatelseisnew Jul 29, 2010

    "Lots of hypocrites on this board. I bet the same people saying she shouldn't have worked there are the same people who say that pharmacists should be allowed to refuse giving out abortion pills if it goes against their religious beliefs. But I guess it's only religious discrimination when it's YOUR beliefs being discriminated against, right?"

    You are assuming they were discriminating. Many workplaces require employees to be attired in certain ways. They have every right to fire employees that refuse to follow their policies.

  • whatelseisnew Jul 29, 2010

    If the requirements of the job were for her to wear a costume, then Belks had every right to fire this lady. It was not about her religion, it was about her refusal to wear the required attire. However, if Belks did not explain this requirement up front then they should not have fired her.

  • Seenenuff Jul 29, 2010

    I JW friend of mine worked at a nursey and sold Christmas trees during the holiday season; neither he nor his friends had a problem doing that. However, he was never asked to wear any holiday garb nor was he required to wish anyone a Merry Christmas. Seems reasonable.I suspect there is more to the Belk story than what we've been given.