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Suit accuses convenience store chain of religious discrimination

Posted September 22, 2010

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— A Wake County man has filed suit against the owners of the Family Fare convenience store chain, alleging that he was denied a managerial job because of his religious practices.

Surjit Singh Saund is seeking back pay, other compensatory and punitive damages and a court order requiring M.M. Fowler Inc. to hire him and accommodate his religious beliefs.

Saund alleges that he was twice turned down in 2008 for a job managing a Family Fare convenience store after company officials saw him wearing a turban and a beard. As a practicing Sikh, he told the officials that he isn't allowed to shave his beard and must keep his hair tied up in a turban, according to the suit.

Other Family Fare store managers have long hair or facial hair, the suit alleges, adding that, during interviews, company officials "made comments and gestures that were insulting and demeaning to Mr. Saund and his practice of wearing a turban."


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  • sunkist1980 Sep 23, 2010

    The way I understand it is, this person was not an employee, he was applying for a job. He feels he didn't get hired because of his religious beliefs. If comments were made during the interview the company should handle that with the person giving the interview. I shop at a Family Fare all over Durham, I've never seen anyone in jeans, much less a head piece of any kind. I appreciate the fact they enforce a dress code. It's professional and it makes me feel like they care about their business. During the interview, if this man decides he can't adhere to the dress code because of his religion, then it's his choice not to take the job. HIS CHOICE! Follow the guide lines the company has in place or don't, look for a job someplace else. If I wanted to work at Hooters but didn't want to wear the uniforms their staff wears, should I sue them? NO, I simply don't apply and look for work at a different place. Life is not simple, just use some common sense and it won't be as difficult. T

  • SomeRandomGuy Sep 22, 2010

    I am confused, he's suing for back pay AND a court order that makes them hire him?? So does/did he work there or not??

  • joewalsh Sep 22, 2010

    Ok let him join the US Military I bet they would want him to shave! So he could sue them also.

  • joewalsh Sep 22, 2010

    Oh boy I'm going to sue everybody that does not hire me. I'll claim they did not hire because of my age. There I shouldn't have to work the rest of my life I'll just go around and sue everybody.

  • beachboater Sep 22, 2010

    "adding that, during interviews, company officials "made comments and gestures that were insulting and demeaning to Mr. Saund and his practice of wearing a turban."

    Again, welcome to the United States of the Offended and of too da... lawyers.

    Let him go take basic law enforcement and see if he gets a job as a law enforcement officer without wearing the UNIFORM!!!

    Sounds like his attitude was enough for him not to be hired.

    BTW, if he was not working the company, how could he be passed over for promotions?

  • MomOfTwo79 Sep 22, 2010

    Ah, yes...America! Where we're so concerned with making sure that everybody has freedom that NO ONE DOES.

  • BigUNCFan Sep 22, 2010

    There are not a lot of times I side with 1 of the original Americans but this is one of them. I have a feeling if indeed this person was denied employment because of religious garb, he will have a case in court.

  • BigUNCFan Sep 22, 2010

    DeathRow, there is a limit to the right to work laws in this state.

    You still have to follow some guidelines. For example, you cannot just openly fire someone because they for example are a woman or are not white or have a facial deformity or are disabled or something of that sort. There are protections from racism and sexism.

    I am not sure if this type of dress situation is covered in those basic protections.

    Generally, there are policy guidelines for every company and even in right to work states, employers have to equally follow those guidelines.

    Additionally, in right to work states, you have federal EEOC laws that supercede state laws for employment regulation.

  • 1 of the original Americans Sep 22, 2010

    if your religious beliefs cause you to contrast with the dress code set forth by your employer, then find another job...this is not a hard concept to grasp, either...

    yup but its an illegal concept!!! constitution trumps your employee handbook!!!

  • michaelclay Sep 22, 2010

    jrbrock, you're right but you should not be tourned down for a job or a promotion because of your religion.