DURHAM, N.C. – A Durham, N.C.-based educational testing company will pay $110,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC had charged that Measurement Incorporated discriminated against Jacqueline Dukes when it fired her for refusing to work on her Sabbath. Dukes is a member of a Christian denomination called Children of Yisrael which prohibits its members from working on the Sabbath, from sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and applicants because of their religion and requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer.
In addition to the $110,000 in back pay and compensatory damages, the three-year consent decree resolving the case (EEOC v. Measurement, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:10-cv-00623 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina) includes injunctive relief enjoining Measurement Incorporated from engaging in further religious discrimination and requiring anti-discrimination training; the posting of a notice about the EEOC and its lawsuit against the company; and regular reporting by the company on its handling of religious accommodation requests .
“Some employers still need to be educated that they are required by law to explore reasonable accommodations to solve situations like this,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District, which includes the EEOC’s Raleigh Area Office, where the charge was filed. “No person should be forced to choose between her religion and her job when the company can provide an accommodation without suffering an undue hardship .”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.