- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is suing a Tim Horton's franchise in Romulus, MI, for violating Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on grounds of religious discrimination. The franchise operator fired Amanda Corley for wearing a skirt, in accordance with her Pentecostal Apostolic faith, instead of the required uniform pants.
- When Corley's pastor wrote a letter to the company to explain why she wasn't allowed to wear pants, the company refused the letter and fired her. The EEOC charged Tim Horton's with unlawfully terminating her for religious reasons. The agency sued the company after first trying to reach a settlement through its conciliation process.
- Kenneth Bird, EEOC Indianapolis regional attorney, said in a statement that Tim Horton's could have easily accommodated Corley's religious beliefs, adding that permitting her to wear a skirt "would not have negatively impacted the business in any way."
Employers might consider alternative attire for employees whose religious beliefs prohibit them from wearing the required uniform. This is one way to satisfy Title VII's rules on religious accommodation. Managers should also undergo training to lower the chances that they might discriminate against employees based on their faith.
Workers' religions might require different kinds of accommodations. Some religions forbid followers to be vaccinated, for example. But HR must ensure that in accommodating workers' religious beliefs, employers don't violate other workers' rights in the process.
The EEOC continues to enforce anti-discrimination laws just the same as it did before the presidential transition. While some employment law experts are closely monitoring for a potential shift in tone, employers shouldn't expect the agency to ease up on enforcement even under a potential pro-business climate.