An employee for a delivery service in Florida who was fired when he refused to work a Sunday shift to attend worship service has won an anti-discrimination case against his former employer.
Tampa Bay Delivery Service, an Amazon delivery service provider based in the Tampa Bay area, will pay $50,000 in relief and oversee changes to its workplace environment to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought the complaint on behalf of an unnamed worker who had been fired when he attended church instead of his shift.
According to an EEOC statement, the delivery service had scheduled the employee for a shift on a Sunday even though he had made it clear earlier that he could not work Sundays.
The EEOC argued that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars discrimination based on religion and "requires employers to reasonably accommodate an applicant’s or employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs unless it would pose an undue hardship."
The consent decree resolving the lawsuit was approved by a federal judge.
In addition to the $50,000 the delivery service will pay in relief, the company must also train staff to avoid religious discrimination and appoint a “religious accommodation coordinator.”
“We commend Tampa Bay Delivery Service for working collaboratively with EEOC to resolve this lawsuit,” said Robert E. Weisberg, the regional attorney for the EEOC Miami District.
“The company’s willingness to address EEOC’s concerns will help in preventing future employees from being forced to choose between employment and a religious belief.”
The EEOC filed the complaint last September in the U.S. District Courts for the Florida Middle District. Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell presided over the case.
In 2019, 60-year-old Haitian immigrant Marie Jean Pierre was awarded $21 million in punitive damages after being fired from her job as a dishwasher by the Conrad Hotel in Miami.
Pierre worked at the hotel from 2006 until 2016. She was fired for refusing to work on Sundays even though she had gotten coworkers to cover her shifts by trading workdays with them.
“I love God. No, I can’t [work on] Sunday because Sunday, I honor God,” said Pierre in an interview with local media outlet NBC 6 South Florida in 2019.
The hotel had claimed that Pierre had been dismissed for misconduct, negligence and “unexcused absences,” alleging that the company was unaware of her reasons for not working Sundays.