Friday, August 31, 2012

Burger King Faces Whopper of a Religious Accommodation Lawsuit - COTW #107

The EEOC served up a "whopper" of a religious accommodation lawsuit on a Burger King (see what I did there?). You can read the Complaint here.

The employee's religion is a Pentecostal of Christian faith that requires women to wear only skirts or dresses. She brought this up at her interview for a BK cashier position, and the interviewer assured her it was not a problem. She got the job, but when she showed up to work in a skirt she was sent home.

Generally, employers are required to reasonably accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of their employees unless it would impose an undue hardship. Courts have allowed uniform requirements to trump religious garments in limited circumstances. For example, a prison can ban religious headscarves to prevent smuggling of weapons and contraband, and to prevent the scarves from being used to strangle people.

I doubt Burger King has such concerns. Although I guess it's possible that loose clothing presents some hazard around the kitchen. If the manager is just worried that the skirts clash with the BK unis - well, that sounds like an uphill battle to me.

HT: Prof. Volokh and his Conspiracy (he has additional analysis and citations).

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