The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a Title VII civil rights action against a Burger King restaurant claiming that it failed to accommodate the religious beliefs of a Pentecostal Christian woman who sought to wear skirts or dresses to work instead of uniform pants. EEOC v. Fries Rest. Mgmt., LLC, No. 3:12-cv-3169 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Tex., Dallas Div., filed August 22, 2012).
The employee was hired as a cashier and had allegedly been informed when she interviewed for the position that she could wear a skirt to work, an accommodation she required because she “adheres to an interpretation of the scripture that requires women to wear only skirts or dresses.” When she arrived at work for orientation in a skirt, she was told she could not wear it and would have to leave the store. According to the complaint, “The result of the foregoing practice has been to deprive Ashanti McShan of equal employment opportunities because of her religious beliefs and observances as a Christian Pentecostal.”
EEOC seeks to enjoin the defendant from discriminating on the basis of religion and an order requiring the defendant to accommodate McShan’s religion and make her whole with back pay and prejudgment interest; compensation for pain and suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, and emotional distress; and punitive damages for “malicious conduct or reckless indifference to Ashanti McShan’s federally protected rights.”