Female Employee Denied Employment Because She Refused to Wear Pants for Religious Reasons, Federal Agency Charged
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Patty Tipton Company, a Lexington, KY, staffing agency, has agreed to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, Megan Woodard, a University of Kentucky student, is a member of a fundamentalist Baptist church whose members believe that women should not dress like men including refraining from wearing pants. Woodard applied for a temporary job at the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG) held in Lexington, but was denied a position due to her request for the religious accommodation not to wear pants.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. The Patty Tipton Company, Civil Action No. 5:11-cv-00278-KSF) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Lexington Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court through its conciliation process.
The parties negotiated a consent decree which provides the applicant with back pay and compensatory damages of $5.000. The decree also provides for injunctive relief including anti-discrimination training, reporting of discrimination claims, and a prohibition against any discrimination or retaliation under Title VII.
"Discrimination because of a person's religion is illegal and will not be tolerated," said Laurie Young, Regional Attorney for the EEOC's Indianapolis District Office. "While that should be clear by now to all employers, some of them sadly continue to ignore the law. Employers should be on notice that the EEOC will act aggressively to protect people from this type of discrimination.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.