UPS settles with EEOC over Jehovah’s Witness worker

Sandy Springs-based UPS has agreed to pay $70,000 to settle a religious accommodation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a Jehovah’s Witness employee.

A UPS spokeswoman said the global package delivery company did not admit any wrongdoing and said its operation in Saddle Brook, N.J., where the worker was employed, will be retrained about the company’s policies on religious accommodation.

Spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg said the company regularly reviews individual requests to accommodate prayer, grooming and attire, and observances based on religion. “UPS really respects religious differences and that’s why we’ve had protocols in place to review accommodations,” Rosenberg said.

The employee, who was not identified in the complaint, worked part time in Saddle Brook after being hired in April 2011, the EEOC said. He requested a schedule change to attend an annual religious service, but his supervisor denied the request, and the EEOC said the worker was fired a few days later.

The EEOC argued that the refusal to grant the schedule accommodation and decision to fire the worker constituted religious discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act. In its complaint, the EEOC also said the company placed the former employee on a company-wide “do not rehire” list. The EEOC said the worker was unable to get another job at a UPS location.

In addition to paying $70,000 in damages, UPS also agreed to post a policy outlining the procedure for requesting a religious accommodation so employees can see it in Saddle Brook.

Rosenberg said hourly, part-time and management will be retrained in Saddle Brook about UPS’ policies She said the requests are processed through human resources, which considers verified documentation among other factors.

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