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Fired T-Mobile worker sues for religious discrimination

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T-Mobile is being sued for religious discrimination by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after a new employee at the company’s Augusta call center was fired for refusing to train during her Sabbath, as alleged in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court, stated that T-Mobile violated federal law by firing the employee, who had just been hired as a customer service representative, when she “requested an accommodation” for not working three training days that were scheduled during the Sabbath, which she observed from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, according to the EEOC.

According to the EEOC, the employee explained to T-Mobile managers that her religion prohibited her from working on the Sabbath and offered to make up the three training days at another time, but the company refused and fired her.

The commission also alleges that T-Mobile allowed other trainees to take three days off for non-religious reasons without firing them.

A prior attempt to reach a pre-litigation settlement failed.

The EEOC is seeking back pay, reinstatement as well as compensatory and punitive damages for the former employee. The commission is also seeking injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.

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oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 06/07/13 - 09:43 pm
9
6
religious discrimination
Unpublished

My religion does not let me work for less than $100k/yr and I can not work Mon-through Sun day or night. I can attend coffie breaks and am flexiable on vacation time. Now, if I can figure how to get hired at T-Mobile without leaving the house? Maybe they can just send a check. Wait, my religion does not allow me to take money, just send pot.

NoHayManera
140
Points
NoHayManera 06/08/13 - 07:05 am
8
5
...Weekends off?

Seems a bit unfair to those now forced to work Friday nights and Saturdays because she won't... just saying.

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 06/08/13 - 07:34 am
1
0
You get a job. You're grateful to get a job....
Unpublished

because they are few. Then you decide to tell the employer how to run their business. We have seen this scam many years ago at a local manufacturer. There is always a hole in their amour with their religious zeal apart from working. Sabbath rules that appear when the baby sitter is not available. Like tearing the Christmas paper from gifts, but taking the gifts.

nocnoc
44734
Points
nocnoc 06/08/13 - 07:48 am
8
3
Taking a regulation and

Taking a regulation and political side.

Exceptions are made for numerous other "special" groups everyday.
So why shouldn't a Christian be extended the same treatment?

gaptomom
143
Points
gaptomom 06/08/13 - 08:04 am
6
2
Who is at fault?

Did T-Mobile not do a thorough interview to be an informed employer to know of this person's practice of their religion or did the employee not bring it up? This should have been clarified before the employement contract was signed. There is more to this story than we are reading.

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 06/08/13 - 08:09 am
5
3
So true nocnoc !

Those of you making fun seem to forget that Muslim women get a free pass on being checked at airports if they cite religious reasons so why can't this person make up her training day on other days? It clearly states other workers were allowed to be off for non-religious reasons so why not allow her too??

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 06/08/13 - 08:32 am
1
0
Why do you think she is a Muslim?
Unpublished

Some so called Christian groups observe the Sabbath on Saturday. One fellow employee used all of her sick days for Friday second shift. Then used all of her vacation days for Friday second shift. Then and only then cried out that she had a religious problem with the Sabbath. Turned out she had other plans for those evenings .

Little Lamb
46826
Points
Little Lamb 06/08/13 - 08:34 am
2
3
Training

Doesn't it seem odd that T-Mobile insists on training people from sundown Friday through sundown Saturday?

belle
309
Points
belle 06/08/13 - 08:46 am
0
0
If....
Unpublished

If she was informed of the training at the time of hiring, she should have not accepted the job.

If the company did not ask her if there were any known reasons personal or religious that would limit her schedule, they were negligent.

If the employee was informed during the hiring process and then refused to work, it is blatant manipulation to obtain a free ride at the employer's expense and will be thrown out of court.

The employer cannot ask the applicant direct questions about their faith and it is not the employer's responsibility to know every religion's practices or holy days.

christyanne76
44
Points
christyanne76 06/08/13 - 09:16 am
4
5
Wow

What a idiotic remark. Most people are allowed at least one day off a week. You can't respect someone who is Jewish and requests their sabbath off? They aren't asking for that day off so they can party, it's to worship G-d. Not a horrible request in my opinion. To insinuate someone is trying to get out of working is ignorant.

seenitB4
90638
Points
seenitB4 06/08/13 - 09:17 am
11
1
OOH BOYY!!

I think of my days with the Bell system...weekends--holidays--nights---sometimes all night--sometimes 14 days in a row...oh yeh...when they needed us we were there.....no ifs-no ands-no buts---funny how some think they can regulate the hours they will work.....naaahhh
Police--Doctors-restaurant workers--firemen--plumbers-hospital workers ....almost all telephone employees--Ga Power...& the list goes on & On....
Get over thyself.....this employee should not apply to any job with weekend hours....they were right to fire her.

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 06/08/13 - 09:32 am
8
2
Religion
Unpublished

Article I; Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…. This means that just because your religion tells you to kill non-believers, you can’t because our law says you can’t. If you want to take Friday off, you can and your boss can fire you for being absent. If you boss says you can not wear a costume demanded by your religion, you can wear it, just not at work. Simple stuff, really. No religious law can trump our US law in the US. Read the entire Constitution, all other laws in this country must fit into it.

JRC2024
9262
Points
JRC2024 06/08/13 - 09:54 am
6
0
Why hire her in the first

Why hire her in the first place if you know what SHE EXPECTS of you.
Sounds like BS to me. Maybe she will just get a dollar. And remember Georgia is a right to work state. Maybe all should be hired as subcontractors and not employees so you could do away with their need without having to worry about such junk.

jbenny2010
263
Points
jbenny2010 06/08/13 - 09:57 am
0
0
Don't parse

@ORNM96 - you forgot the rest of the sentence which reads "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Obviously, you didn't pay attention during civics class. The Establishment clause that you quoted not only forbids the creation of a state religion, makes it illegal to favor one religion over another, or prefer one religion over another. The second phrase that I quoted is called the Free Exercise clause which forbids the government from interfering with the practice of that religion. "The Free Exercise Clause not only protects religious belief and expression; it also seems to allow for violation of laws, as long as that violation is made for religious reasons."
http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/free_exercise_clause

So just as you have the freedom to participate in non religious activities, this woman has the freedom to participate in religious activities. She only asked for an accommodation to complete the training on different days; she wasn't asking to not do the training at all.

I'm sure that when she was hired, she explained that her religious beliefs indicated that she needed to have Saturdays off instead of Sunday or another day. I have been asked to work on Sunday to do training at my job and I told my supervisor that I could not because of my religious beliefs, and my supervisor allowed me to do the training at another time.

What's the issue about when it gets done as long as it gets done? This is religious discrimination and she is justified to sue, IMHO.

deestafford
28596
Points
deestafford 06/08/13 - 10:14 am
5
0
My guess is

that T-Mobile had group training scheduled during the time frame under discussion and that time frame was not compatible with her religious practices. If it were individual training maybe it could have been worked around.
The question about the employment interview and what was covered is a good one.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 06/08/13 - 10:18 am
5
1
I will bet even money that
Unpublished

I will bet even money that she is a minority of some kind. T-Mobile will settle with her to avoid bad publicity.

jbenny2010
263
Points
jbenny2010 06/08/13 - 10:28 am
3
4
Don't parse

@ ORNM 96 - There are two parts of the amendment that you quoted that deal with religion; the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. The first, which you stated, forbids the establishment of a national religion and favoring one religion over another. The second, which you omitted is ". . . or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . .". That means that the government cannot stop anyone from practicing any religious belief that they want to and that laws can be violated based on religious beliefs.

This woman did not ask to be excused from the training all together; she only asked to complete the training on another day. I have done the same at one of my jobs; training was scheduled for a Sunday, and I stated that I don't work on Sundays and asked to do the training on another day. My supervisor allowed it without incident. It was an accommodation, not getting out of it.

I understand that many people are not religious and that's your choice. I don't have a problem with that and if you want to hang out at the lake and wash your car while I'm at church, that's you; do you. But at the same time, don't say that I can't worship as I believe and don't hinder me as I practice those beliefs. Let me do me.

And just because some of you worked on jobs where you HAD to go, obviously you didn't have a religious objection to it, because you went. And that's your prerogative. Just as it is mine to say, I'm not working on my Sabbath; I'll make it up on another day. My mom worked at a retail store some years ago and when she first interviewed for the job she stated that she would not be working on Sundays. They tried to schedule her and she reminded them that she told them when they hired her that she would not work on Sundays. And she worked there 10 years and never worked on a Sunday because she took a stand for her beliefs. And that's exactly what this woman is doing. I respect her for that.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 06/08/13 - 10:26 am
0
0
She is
Unpublished

not the type of person I'd want to help me solve my T-Mobile problems---- if I used T-Mobile.

Darby
26853
Points
Darby 06/08/13 - 10:33 am
4
0
"Wait, my religion does not allow me

to take money, just send pot."

.
Are you really sure you need it??

robaroo
792
Points
robaroo 06/08/13 - 10:46 am
3
0
Employers Required to Make Reasonable Accomodations ...

... for religious beliefs. T-Mobile can't ask anybody about their religion, especially during the interview. That could lead to discrimination.

But, the job is for working in a call center that you would think requires people to work outside the normal 9-5 weekdays. It seems to me she shouldn't have applied for a job if the hours conflict with her beliefs. Maybe she should have applied for a different job.

burninater
9680
Points
burninater 06/08/13 - 11:10 am
1
0
But at the same time

"But at the same time, don't say that I can't worship as I believe and don't hinder me as I practice those beliefs. Let me do me."
----
Firing someone for refusing to come to work in no way hinders worship or belief practice.

And BTW Scooby, Muslim women getting a pass on getting checked at airports is false.

http://www.examiner.com/article/are-muslim-women-exempt-from-screening-o...

GiantsAllDay
9842
Points
GiantsAllDay 06/08/13 - 11:15 am
3
0
No, they ain't makin' Jews

No, they ain't makin' Jews like Jesus anymore,
They don't turn the other cheek the way they done before.
He started in to shoutin' and a-spittin' on the floor,
“Lord, they ain't makin' Jews like Jesus anymore
~Kinky Friedman

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 06/08/13 - 11:59 am
1
2
Robaroo, I don't believe the

Robaroo, I don't believe the issue was concerning her normal working hours and most likely T-Mobile worked her normal working schedule around her religious restriction of not working on the Sabbath. The article stated it was training not her normal working shift.

"... T-Mobile allowed other trainees to take three days off for non-religious reasons without firing them."

If the company allowed other trainees to take 3 days off for non-religious reasons, it makes me wonder why they would refuse to allow this employee to take the three days off FOR religious reasons. I would assume the other employees would have to make up the training and another training class would be scheduled.

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 06/08/13 - 07:59 pm
2
1
jbenny2010
Unpublished

"That means that the government cannot stop anyone from practicing any religious belief that they want to and that laws can be violated based on religious beliefs." J Benny, I copied and pasted to be sure you said the above. Are you sure? If so, we have to let these radicals who want to blow up people here in the US have at it. I am sure the A/C missed a lot of the details in this story and maybe it will turn out well for all involved. Sure wish the A/C would fill in the missing blanks.

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