Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018.
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 14 cities across the U.S. this fall.
Gain the skills you need to rise to the next level in your career. Jon us at SHRM's Leadership Development Forum, October 2-3 in Boston.
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
A beer distribution business based in Raleigh, N.C., will pay $50,000 and adopt a formal religious accommodation policy as part of a consent decree entered into with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to resolve a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC.
The EEOC complaint alleged that Christopher Alston, a practicing Rastafarian, applied for a job as a delivery driver with Mims Distributing Company in May 2014. As a Rastafarian, Alston cannot cut his hair and, in accordance with his religious beliefs, had not cut his hair since 2009. Mims told the job applicant that he would have to cut his hair if he wanted the position. Alston responded that he could not cut his hair because of his religious beliefs and the company refused to hire him for noncompliance.
The alleged conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs if they do not pose an undue hardship to the employer’s business, according to the EEOC.
The EEOC attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement with Mims through its conciliation process, but when that failed, it filed suit Sept. 25, 2014, in federal district court in North Carolina.
In addition to monetary damages, the two-year consent decree resolving the suit requires Mims to adopt a formal religious accommodation policy and to conduct an annual training program on the requirements of Title VII and its prohibition against religious discrimination. The company also is required to post a copy of its anti-discrimination policy at its Raleigh facility.
"Employers are required by federal law to make exceptions to their dress and grooming policies in order to accommodate a job applicant's sincerely held religious beliefs – unless doing so would pose an undue hardship," according to Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "This case demonstrates the EEOC's continued commitment to fighting religious discrimination in the workplace."
EEOC v. Mims Distributing Company, Inc., E.D. N.C., Civil Action No. 5:14-CV-00538 (Jan. 23, 2015)
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Become a SHRM Member
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies