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Hotel ordered to pay $100,000 to Muslim worker

Missouri is home to many hotels in Kansas City, Branson and other tourist destinations, so local hospitality corporations may want to take note of the $100,000 settlement paid out for a religious discrimination lawsuit brought on by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A Muslim woman hired to be a housekeeper at the MCM Elegante Hotel in Albuquerque was reportedly told that she would not be allowed to work while wearing her religion's required head covering. The EEOC lawsuit claimed that she was fired when she refused to follow that directive.

Such an action on the part of an employer would be in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under that law, employees cannot be fired because of their religion, their religious practices or their request for religious accommodations. The last directive is what applied in this case, because allowing religious headwear was considered a reasonable accommodation that must be provided to religious adherents if it doesn't cause undue hardship to the employer.

The former employee was awarded the monetary award and an injunction against the hotel committing such discrimination in the future. The hotel was instructed to provide training about the rules, institute specific policies regarding them and post notices letting employees know their rights under the Civil Rights Act.

Religious discrimination is not the only behavior prohibited under Title VII. Age discrimination, race discrimination and other workplace discrimination are also listed. Individuals who believe their employee rights have been denied may wish to work with the EEOC or a labor rights attorney to seek redress in court. Other types of violations may include employee harassment due to gender or policies resulting in a disparate impact of effects.

Source: EEOC, "MCM Elegante Hotel Settles Religious Discrimination Suit with EEOC", November 18, 2013

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