Tri-County Lexus Refused to Hire Sikh Applicant and Provide Religious Accommodation
United Galaxy Inc., a car dealership in New Jersey doing business as Tri-County Lexus, will pay $50,000 and provide other significant relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of Gurpreet Kherha, a member of the Sikh faith whose religious beliefs require him to wear a beard, uncut hair and a turban.
According to the lawsuit, Tri-County Lexus strictly enforced its dress code policy without granting reasonable religious accommodations, and thus refused to hire Kherha when he applied for an available position as a sales associate. The EEOC deemed he was qualified for the position.
The agency is charging that Kherha was denied the job when he refused to shave his beard on Tri-County Lexus’ request.
Religious discrimination is violation of Tittle VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
Religious discrimination in employment is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which provides that employers may not discriminate on the basis of an employee’s or applicant’s religion. Where appropriate, the employer must provide reasonable accommodations to sincerely-held religious beliefs or practices.
“This case represents an example of EEOC’s commitment to vindicating the employment rights of those who want to observe their religion,” said District Director Kevin Berry of the EEOC.
In addition to the $50,000 in monetary relief to Kherha, the two-year consent decree that resolves the lawsuit prevents Tri-County Lexus from discriminating on the basis of religion in the future.Tri-County Lexus must also provide anti-discrimination training to both employees and management as well a post a notice regarding the resolution of the lawsuit. The dealership must also appoint an EEO coordinator to ensure compliance with federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.
EEOC Regional Attorney Elizabeth Grossman added, “We are pleased that Tri-County Lexus partnered with us to resolve this suit. This settlement will protect employees and future applicants from religious discrimination and inform all that the EEOC will take vigorous action to remedy it. It will also serve as a vehicle to educate other employers about the Sikh faith.”
Peter K. Levine
A Professional Law Corporation