Trump Hotel housekeeper claims she was fired for refusing to work Sundays, sues

Flags fly above the entrance to the new Trump International Hotel on its opening day in Washington, DC, U.S. on Sept. 12, 2016.
Flags fly above the entrance to the new Trump International Hotel on its opening day in Washington, DC, U.S. on Sept. 12, 2016. | (PHOTO: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)

A former housekeeper is suing the operator of Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, claiming the business engaged in religious discrimination by firing her because she refused to work on Sundays.

Sonia Perez, 56, filed a lawsuit against Trump Ruffin Commercial Inc., the company that oversees the Trump hotels. She claims that the company required her to work Sundays after employees unionized in 2018. 

The case is known as Torres v. Trump Ruffin Commercial LLC. The case was filed last Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.

According to Bloomberg, Perez worked for the hotel from 2010 until 2015 without a problem since her schedule allowed her to take Sundays off to attend her non-denominational church.

But following the unionization of employees, her shift was changed so that she had to work Sundays. The lawsuit states that Perez refused to work on Sundays due to her “sincerely held religious belief.”

Perez maintains that she initially used “attendance points” she accrued to make up for her absences on Sundays. The complaint alleges that after Perez ran out of “attendance points,” she was fired for her Sunday absences. 

The Christian Post reached out to the Trump Organization for comment. A response is pending. 

Last year, a jury in Florida awarded a hotel dishwasher a $21 million settlement after she claimed to have been fired for missing work on six Sundays to attend church. 

In February, an evangelical former postal carrier in Pennsylvania sued the U.S. Postal Service on accusations the agency punished him when he couldn’t work on Sundays. 

Perez's lawsuit comes as President Donald Trump, who owns the Trump Organization, has championed himself as a staunch proponent of religious liberty. His administration has pursued efforts to broaden religious freedom both domestically and abroad.

Following an executive order signed by Trump in 2017, federal departments have issued guidelines on how their agencies can best protect the First Amendment rights of Americans. 

In May, the Department of Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia issued a directive calling for the department to “uphold religious liberty for America’s workforce.” The directive acknowledges the “the central role that religion and religious freedom play in civil society.”

Last week, the president issued an executive order telling the U.S. State Department to, among other things, budget $50 million annually to advance religious freedom internationally.

Trump also released an official message on June 1 in commemoration of the second annual Global Coptic Day observance, which is aimed at spreading awareness of the persecution faced by Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Critics have argued that Trump’s religious freedom focus has been selective. They point to administration efforts, like the attempted curbing of refugees from some Muslim-majority nations and the decrease in the total number of refugees being resettled to the U.S. by the Trump administration.

A report by the Pew Research Center released last month found that many Americans believe that Trump has helped evangelical Christians more than any other social group, while also hurting Muslims more than any other group.

The Pew report found that while 43% of respondents believed that the administration had helped evangelicals, 48% of respondents believed that Trump has hurt Muslims more than others.   

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