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Terminated due to Religious Discrimination

Discussion in 'Termination: Firing & Resignation' started by Jade, Feb 20, 2003.

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  1. Jade

    Jade Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I was terminated from my position as a Staffing Assistant at a staffing agency in Florida today because I refused to hide my religious necklace. I was told by the area manager that by wearing it, it constituted a negative image and the company wasn't going to allow that. I was put on administrative leave until HR made the decision if my supervisor was correct. I got a call a couple of hours later telling me I was terminated for insubordination. Imagine, being terminated for refusing to do something that is illegal....I have contacted the ACLU to see if they will take the case and I have also filed a claim with our citys' community affairs department.
     
  2. tsubo

    tsubo New Member

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    good luck

    Good luck in your endevour! I would love to hear how this progresses. Please keep us posted...

    I understand your position because I have had a little experience with religious issues and the work place. IMHO, the company does have the right to have a dress code to project it's idea of professionalism. It's their business and they are employing you, and you agreed to abide by their policies.

    Once you punch out, they have no say about what necklace you where, but on the clock... they own you. :rolleyes: And the only legal way to terminate you is to list "insubordination" as the reason. If they even hint at the word "religion" they immediately weaken their point. :mad:

    Let us know what the ACLU says ok?
     
  3. Jade

    Jade Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I fully understand the need for a dress code, however this was an issue where they were able to wear their cross and I was told to remove a small 1/4" medallion type pentacle. Most people wouldn't even see it much less know what it means. She terminated me because I refused to take it off. The ACLU has not responded to my email. However, the EEOC has agreed that there was enough evidence to file a charge. We shall see.
     
  4. tsubo

    tsubo New Member

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    hypocritical

    yes,
    I see where you have more of a case now. I didn't know that they allowed some religious symbols but not others. To be totally PC they need to either allow all forms of religious expression or none at all.

    Let us know how this works out :)
     
  5. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Why did they think that your medallion was threatening? Is it a typical thought that a pentagram is some association with the black arts? This could be a violation of their own policies and you may have a case for discrimination based upon religion and their own work policies, e.g. the crosses being worn in public. Can you give us details?
     
  6. Jade

    Jade Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Religious Discrimintation

    At our initial interview, we casually discussed psychics. During this conversation I casually showed her my pentacle, but all she said was "Let's keep this to ourselves." I had worked there for a week wearing my pentacle everyday outside my clothing. She had been there previously before the day I was terminated. That morning, when I was in the back office, she grabbed a hold of my necklace and made as if to put it around the back of my neck. I pulled away from her and gave her a questioning look. She said "I thought we agreed you wouldn't wear that or at least keep it hidden." I said, "No, I never agreed to any such thing because if that is what you were asking me, I never would have accepted the position." During the course of this conversation, she stated that the necklace was perceived to be negative and that her company did not want to be associated with anything negative like that. I told her it was my religious symbol and if they could wear their crosses, I should be able to wear my pentacle. She sent me home on administrative leave because I disagreed with her termination of me and she said she would call HR to validate her reasoning. They came up with insubrdination of a superior as a reason for termination.
     
  7. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Discrimination based upon religion is actionable and unlawful. It may be a good idea to think about how you might be able to get as much evidence as possible before they know your intentions to potentially sue. This may not be as easy a case as others unless there can be a pattern shown, e.g. almost the entire company is Christian and there is a high turnover of people of other faiths, it has happened before, etc.
     
  8. Jade

    Jade Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Unfortunately, there was only 1 other employee in the office when the incident occurred and I don't think she will be willing to risk her job to help me. There really is no way to gather evidence because of it being a temporary job placement firm and I have no way of knowing if it has happened before. I know that they have hired other people of faiths similar to mine because one came in to update his record, however, I have no idea what his name was. The St. Pete Community Affairs department is helping me file a claim of discrimination with the EEOC. The initial charge has now gone to the responding company for the their response. It will take about a month for that, then 6 months for EEOC to investigate. Then they will issue a right to sue motion if this cannot be handled by mediation.
     

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