Human Resources News & Insights

2 fast-food restaurants pay big to settle religious discrimination cases

2012 saw the second-most religious bias complaints ever. Here’s Exhibits A and B. 

Finger lickin’ bias?

A Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise has settled a religious bias lawsuit for $40,000.

According to the suit, Sheila Silver had worked for various Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants since 1992 when she converted to Pentecostalism in 2010. As a member of the church, Silver believes women cannot wear pants.

In April 2013, the company allegedly informed Silver that she had to wear pants because of the company’s dress code policy. Silver told her employer she couldn’t due to her religious beliefs. The company allegedly fired her in response.

Silver went to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which sued on her behalf. The company decided to settle.

In addition to the monetary settlement, the KFC franchise will:

  • adopt a formal religious accommodation policy
  • conduct an annual training program on religious bias, and
  • post a copy of their anti-discrimination policy at all of its facilities.

I’m lovin’ religious discrimination?

In the second case, McDonald’s Restaurants of California, Inc., will pay $50,000 and furnish other relief to settle a religious bias lawsuit.

Company officials at a restaurant formerly owned by McDonald’s in Fresno allegedly refused a request from a Muslim employee to grow a beard for religious reasons. He was later fired.

The man went to the EEOC, which sued on his behalf. McDonald’s opted to settle. In addition to the monetary settlement, the franchise agreed to:

  • reinforce training of its managers and staff, and
  • redistribute its existing policies related to religious discrimination and accommodation.

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