Employer Will Pay $110,759 to Settle Religious Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit

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The settlement of the lawsuit between Triple Canopy, Inc. and a former employee, under the supervision of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), highlights a significant case of religious discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. Triple Canopy, a company based in Reston, Virginia, that provides protective services to federal agencies, has agreed to pay $110,759 and implement other corrective measures to resolve these allegations.


The core issue in this lawsuit was the denial of a religious accommodation to an employee who, due to his Christian beliefs, maintained that men must wear beards. The EEOC’s lawsuit pointed out that Triple Canopy’s refusal was based on the employee’s inability to provide further substantiation of his beliefs or a statement from a certified religious leader. Additionally, the company was accused of retaliating against the employee for filing a charge with the EEOC, leading to intolerable work conditions and his eventual constructive discharge.


This case is particularly relevant under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law mandates that employers must accommodate employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs, provided that doing so doesn’t cause undue hardship. It also protects employees from retaliation if they raise concerns about discrimination.


As part of the resolution, Triple Canopy will adopt and disseminate a new policy on religious accommodation. They are also required to provide training focused on religious discrimination and retaliation and to submit quarterly reports to the EEOC regarding any complaints of religious discrimination and retaliation. This three-year consent decree reflects the company’s commitment to addressing these issues.


EEOC Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence expressed satisfaction with the early resolution of this case, emphasizing the compensation for the affected employee and the steps Triple Canopy will take to improve the handling of religious accommodation requests. Mindy E. Weinstein, director of the EEOC’s Washington Field Office, highlighted the broad definition of religion under Title VII. It covers not only mainstream religious beliefs but also individual religious observances, practices, and beliefs. She stressed the employer’s obligation to provide accommodations for religious practices, barring undue hardship.


This case underscores the importance of employers understanding and respecting the religious beliefs and practices of their employees. It also serves as a reminder of the legal obligations employers have under Title VII regarding religious accommodations and the prohibition of retaliation. For more information on religious discrimination, the EEOC’s website is a valuable resource.


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