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Food Lion facing a EEOC religious discrimination lawsuit

New Jersey residents may not be familiar with Food Lion, but a recent discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the grocery store chain may be of some interest. In the lawsuit, which was filed on Aug. 20, the agency claims that a Food Lion employee’s religious rights were violated when he was fired from his job because he refused to work on Sundays.

The lawsuit was initiated after a Food Lion butcher, who was transferred to a Food Lion location in Kernersville, North Carolina, was allegedly told he must work on Sundays in order to keep his job. However, when he was initially hired on June 6, 2011 at the store’s Winston-Salem location, that store’s manager accommodated the butcher’s request to refrain from working on Sundays and Thursday nights so that he could tend to his religious practices and beliefs as an elder and minister at his church.

By refusing to provide reasonable accommodations for the employee’s religious beliefs and then subsequently terminating his employement, the EEOC claims that Food Lion violated federal law. After a settlement could not be reached, the EEOC filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The EEOC is seeking back pay, injunction relief, punitive damages, compensatory damages, past and future non-pecuniary losses and past and future pecuniary losses.

Whenever a business has been accused of violating federal laws by not allowing an employee to practice his or her religious rights, the business’s good name and reputation could suffer. By retaining an employment litigation attorney, the business may benefit from a robust discrimination claims defense that could result in a satisfactory resolution.

Source: Salisbury Post, “EEOC sues Food Lion for religious discrimination“, August 20, 2014

Source: Salisbury Post, “EEOC sues Food Lion for religious discrimination“, August 20, 2014

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