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PRESS RELEASE
5-20-10

Pollard Agency Pays $49,556 To Settle EEOC Religious Discrimination Lawsuit

Federal Agency Charged Security Guard Was Fired Because of Mennonite Head Scarf

ATLANTA – The Pollard  Agency, a Fruithurst, Ala.-based contract security company, will pay more than $49,000  to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC  had charged in its suit that the Pollard Agency discriminated against security  guard Marian Lawson by firing her rather than accommodating her religious practice  of wearing a head scarf. Pollard, whose belief  as a Mennonite Baptist requires the scarf, was fired from a client location in Monticello, Ga.

Title  VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to reasonably accom­modate  the sincerely held religious beliefs of employees and job applicants so long as  such measures do not cause hardship to the employer. The EEOC filed suit on March 8, 2010, in U.S.  District Court for the Middle District of Georgia after first attempting to  reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The  consent decree settling the suit, in addition to the monetary relief of $49,556,  includes provisions for equal employment opportunity training, reporting, and  postings. In the suit and consent  decree, Pollard denied any liability or wrongdoing.

“This  early settlement benefits everyone involved, especially Ms. Lawson, who can now  put this episode behind her,” said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the  Atlanta District Office. “The EEOC is  pleased that Pollard chose to resolve the matter early and to take steps to  ensure similar problems do not occur in the future.”

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.