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Maryland Employer Sued for Failing to Accommodate Employee's Religious Holiday

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently sued the company XPO Last Mile, Inc., in federal court in Maryland, for discriminating against a new hire because he could not start work on a Jewish Holiday.  The company pulled its offer letter for Tzvi McCloud after he said he could not start working on October 3, 2016, which was the Jewish High Holy day of Rosh Hashanah. 

XPO Last Mile, Inc. is a logistics and delivery company.  Mr. McCloud was hired for a dispatcher/customer service position with the company at its Elkridge, Maryland location.  The EEOC's lawsuit states that McCloud was to report to work on October 3, 2016, but McCloud told the company that he could not start on that date due to Rosh Hashanah.  Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and it is considered one of the most holy days of the year for those of the Jewish faith.  Although McCloud's operations manager initially said that he could start the next day instead, the market vice president of the company later revoked the accommodation because XPO only honored federal holidays.

The EEOC's lawsuit states that the company ran afoul of the federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on religion, as well as race, color, national origin and sex. Specifically, Title VII requires employers to reasonably accommodate an applicant or employee's sincerely held religious beliefs unless it would pose an undue hardship.  In this case, the EEOC's position is that a one day postponement of a start date is not an undue hardship. According to its press release, the EEOC initially tried to resolve the case through its administrative processes, and continues to seek back pay, reinstatement, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief. 

Thatcher Law Firm regularly handles discrimination cases before the EEOC and in federal court.  Please contact us for assistance. 

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