Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Logistics Company Rescinded Job Offer to Jewish Employee Who Could Not Work on Rosh Hashanah, Federal Agency Charges
BALTIMORE - XPO Last Mile, Inc., a logistics company that specializes in the delivery of items such as office furniture, home furnishings and fitness equipment, will pay $94,541 and furnish significant relief to settle a federal religious discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, XPO Last Mile's operations manager offered an applicant a dispatcher/customer service position at its Elkridge, Md., office and told him his start date would be on Oct. 3, 2016. When the applicant told the operations manager he could not start work then because he celebrated the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah on that date, the operations manager replied that he thought it would be acceptable for the applicant to start on Oct. 4. Later that evening, however, the market vice president called and told the applicant that the company would not give him a religious accommodation. XPO Last Mile violated federal law when it revoked its offer of employment because the applicant was unable to work on Rosh Hashanah due to his religious beliefs, the EEOC said.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on religion and requires employers to reasonably accommodate an applicant's or employee's sincerely held religious beliefs unless it would pose an undue hardship. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division (EEOC v. XPO Last Mile, Inc., Civil Action No.1-17:cv-01342), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $94,541 in monetary relief to the applicant, the three-year consent decree resolving the suit enjoins XPO Last Mile from terminating employees based on religion or denying religious accommodations absent an undue hardship in the future. The company will implement and distribute to all employees a detailed policy against religious discrimination. XPO Last Mile will provide training on unlawful employment discrimination, which will emphasize prohibiting religious discrimination and on providing religious accommodations. The company will also report to the EEOC on how it handles any religious accommodation requests and post a notice regarding the settlement.
"The EEOC is gratified that XPO Last Mile worked with us to reach an amicable settlement which compensates the applicant and ensures that no employees or applicants are discriminated against based on religion," said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence.
EEOC Philadelphia District Office Director Jamie R. Williamson added, "Our right to exercise our religious beliefs is one of our most precious freedoms. This settlement should send a strong message to all employers about the need to provide a religious accommodation. Most religious accommodations can be done easily and without incurring an undue hardship."
The EEOC Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. The legal staff of the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecutes discrimination cases arising from Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.