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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
1-29-10

Ivy Hall Assisted Living Pays $43,000 to Settle Religious Discrimination Lawsuit

EEOC Charged Female Employee Fired Because of Muslim Headdress

ATLANTA – Ivy Hall Assisted Living, LLC will pay $43,000 and furnish other relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The agency had charged that Ivy Hall discriminated against a female housekeeper by firing her rather than accommodating her religious belief that she wear a Muslim head scarf (hijab) outside her home.  According to the EEOC’s suit, Ivy Hall insisted that, as a condition of her continued employment, Khadija Ahdaoui remove and refrain from wearing her hijab on the job.  

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires that employers make an effort to accommodate employees’ and applicants’ sincerely held religious beliefs.   The EEOC filed the suit on September 30, 2008 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Case No.: 1:08-CV-3067-BBM-SSC).
 
The consent decree settling the suit, in addition to the monetary relief of $43,000, includes provisions for equal employment opportunity training, reporting of any further religious discrimination complaints, and posting of an anti-discrimination notice.  In the suit and consent decree, Ivy Hall denied any liability or wrongdoing.

“Title VII protects employees from having to make the choice Ms. Ahdaoui was forced to make between her religious beliefs and her employment,” said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office.   “The Commission is pleased that Ivy Hall committed itself to resolving this matter and to taking the necessary steps to ensure future compliance with the law.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.