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Posted On: February 20, 2010 by Peter M. LaSorsa

UPS Settles EEOC Lawsuit For $46,000

UPS Freight agreed to pay $46,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a Rastafarian. This is a very unique set of circumstances because the religion is one not considered mainstream. According to the lawsuit UPS refused to accommodate the Rastafarian religious beliefs of Nieland Bynoe. As long as the religious beliefs are sincere and a reasonable accomodation is available, the company must make the accomodation or risk liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. An example of a reasonable accomodation is if a religion does not allow its members to work on a certain day, say Sunday and giving Sunday off to an employee did not create a hardship for the employer, the employer must give the worker Sunday off.

In this case instead of making the reasonable accomondation UPS fired him. During new hire orientation as a driver for UPS management told Bynoe he had to shave his beard and cut his hair in accordance with the company’s grooming policy. Bynoe replied that his religious beliefs prohibit him from cutting his hair or shaving his beard. Bynoe again advised the human resources manager about his religious beliefs and asked for a reasonable accommodation on the following day but UPS fired him. This is also a form of retaliation because Bynoe asked not to be discriminated against and he was fired.

“Our freedom to practice our religious beliefs is a fundamental right in this country,” said Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC

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