EEOC Sues Georgia’s Del Frisco Over Firing Employee Because of Her Religion |  US Commission on Equal Opportunity (EEOC)

The Atlanta restaurant assigned an employee to work who violated her religious beliefs and then fired her for non-work, federal charges say

ATLANTA — Del Frisco’s of Georgia, LLC, an Atlanta restaurant, violated federal law by firing a server when her religious beliefs clashed with her work schedule, the U.S. Employment Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said in a statement today filed lawsuit.

Pursuant to the EEOC’s lawsuit, beginning in January 2019, the employee requested and was granted an opportunity to take time off work on Tuesday evenings and Sunday mornings so that she could attend prayer and church services. Del Frisco has scheduled the employee for Tuesday, December 31, 2019, in conflict with her existing religious placement and her need to attend prayer services that evening. The employee reminded her superiors of her religious conflict, but she was not removed from the roster. When the clerk failed to show up for work that day, Del Frisco fired her.

Such behavior violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964, which prohibits the dismissal of an employee because of her religion and requires that genuine religious beliefs be taken into account by employers. EEOC filed a complaint (Civil Action No. 1:22-CV-2234 MHC JKL) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, after initially attempting to reach a pre-trial settlement through its arbitration process. The EEOC seeks back pay, advance pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the worker, and injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.

“Federal law requires that employers consider the genuinely held religious beliefs of their employees when doing so does not place an undue burden on the employer,” said Marcus G. Keegan, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta district office. “Del Frisco’s could easily have further accommodated its employee’s religious arrangements not to work for an evening on Tuesdays, but chose to schedule them anyway, and that harsh inflexibility caused her to lose her livelihood. The EEOC stands ready to protect the rights of these employees.”

Darrell Graham, district manager for the Atlanta office, said, “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is designed, in part, to protect religious pluralism in our country. Del Frisco has placed his employee in the untenable position of choosing between her job and her religious beliefs, and no one should have to make that choice.”

The EEOC improves opportunities in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace. Visit www.eeoc.gov for more information.