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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
4-2-12

Judge Approves Guam Aircraft Company’s Settlement of EEOC Religious Discrimination Suit

Federal  Agency Says Aviation Concepts Fired Jehovah’s Witness for  Not Raising Flags

HAGATNA, Guam – A federal judge has  approved the settlement by Aviation Concepts, Inc., an aircraft retailer and  service provider in Guam, of a religious  discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. Aviation Concepts will pay $51,000 and  furnish extensive relief to settle the EEOC’s suit.

The federal agency originally filed  suit against Aviation Concepts in September 2011, charging that the company  fired Armando Perez, an assistant mechanic and practicing Jehovah’s Witness,  after he informed his supervisor that he did not wish to perform certain acts  that conflicted with his religious beliefs (EEOC v. Aviation  Concepts, Inc., Case No. 11-00028). Specifically, the EEOC alleged that a manager  ordered Perez to raise the U.S.  and Guam flags at the worksite in June  2010. Although he explained that raising  the flags would violate his religious beliefs, the manager ordered Perez to go  home and fired him that same day for insubordination.

Religious discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil  Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit  after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its  conciliation process.

Aviation Concepts and the EEOC  ultimately entered into a two-and-a-half year consent decree, effectively  settling the lawsuit. Aside from the  monetary relief for Perez, the company agreed to appoint an equal employment  opportunity consultant; revise  its policies and procedures to include the reasonable accommodation of  sincerely held beliefs; effectively handle requests for religious accommodation  and complaints of discrimination or retaliation; and provide annual  anti-discrimination training to all employees with additional training for  management and human resources officials on how to handle complaints and  accommodation requests. Aviation Concepts  will also post a notice on the matter at each of its facilities, and the EEOC  will monitor compliance with the decree.

“Workers have the right to request  an accommodation or exception to work tasks or practices that conflict with  their religious beliefs,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s  Los Angeles District Office. “We are  hopeful that the terms Aviation Concepts has agreed to will promote a workplace  culture that is inclusive of workers irrespective of religion.”

Timothy Riera, local director for  the EEOC’s Honolulu Local Office, which has jurisdiction over Guam,  added, “Employers cannot  ignore or summarily dismiss religious accommodation requests by workers. Companies who fire, discipline or otherwise  negatively impact workers who exercise this right violate federal law.”

According to the company’s website,  Aviation Concepts provides private jet charter, aircraft sales and acquisition,  business aviation consulting and aircraft management services from its  50,000-square-foot hangar facility in Guam.

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