On December 31, 2008, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals declined to review the lower court’s award of $756,000 in damages to two employees in a religious discrimination case brought by the EEOC against AT&T. We originally reported on the underlying case, E.E.O.C. v. AT&T Arkansas, No. 3:06-cv-00176, (E.D.AR 2007), in our November 5, 2007 Update.
In October 2007, during a four-day jury trial, the two men testified that they (1) submitted written requests to their manager for a one-day (Friday) leave of absence in order to attend a three-day annual religious convention, (2) sincerely held a religious belief that required them to attend the annual Jehovah’s Witnesses Convention, and (3) had attended the Convention each year while employed by AT&T. The jury found that AT&T unlawfully discriminated against the two men and awarded $756,000 in damages, including lost wages to both men. The presiding judge ordered AT&T to reinstate both men and awarded them front pay until their date of reinstatement.