The EEOC recently announced that Altec Industries, Inc., a Birmingham, Alabama based manufacturing company, will pay $25,000 and furnish other relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit based on a failure to hire claim.
According to the lawsuit, the Plaintiff applied for employment at Altec’s manufacturing facility in North Carolina. As a Seventh-day Adventist, Plaintiff alleged that he held the sincere religious belief that he could not work on his Sabbath, which runs from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. The EEOC alleged in its complaint that when Altec refused to hire the Plaintiff only after it learned during a job interview that Wright objected to working from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday due to his religion.
Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion. Title VII further requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s sincerely-held religious beliefs unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer.
This lawsuit show the risks a company takes in utilizing discriminatory practices in the hiring process. While refusal to hire claims are often difficult to prove, the EEOC has shown a willingness to investigate these claims and seek damages on behalf of harmed job seekers.