Atlanta based United Parcel Service – or UPS - has agreed to settle a 4.9 million dollar religious discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – or EEOC.
In a federal lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that UPS discriminated against job applicants and employees by NOT hiring applicants or promoting employees whose religious practices of wearing beards or long hair conflicted with UPS's policy. The UPS policy prohibited male employees in supervisory or customer contact positions from wearing beards or growing hair bellow collar length.
According to the EEOC, this policy restricted advancement in the company for those who practice certain faiths.
In present times, with the growth of the MeToo movement, much of the national focus has been on sexual harassment in the workplace. However, this lawsuit is a reminder that employers must be vigilant against all forms of discrimination, including religious discrimination. Employers should be proactive to protect against discrimination and harassment, this includes:
Reviewing dress code and grooming policies to ensure they are compliant.
Ensuring that harassment policies address all forms of harassment, including harassment based on religion.
And, consider implementing a religious accommodation policy that outlines the procedure for requesting a religious accommodation.
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