Beer Distributor Pays $50K to Settle Religious Bias Case Against Rastafarian Truck Driver

True beer lovers will gladly take their next 6-pack from whoever delivers it to them–whether or not the person has a beard.

But that message apparently flew right by Mims Distribution Company, a beer distributor in Raleigh, North Carolina, which according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission refused to hire a practicing Rastafarian because he refused to cut his beard to comply with company policy. The company made no effort to reasonably accommodate the applicant, the EEOC said.

The company will pay $50,000 to settle the EEOC’s Title VII lawsuit against it, the commission announced.

“Employers are required by federal law to make exceptions to their dress and grooming policies in order to accommodate a job applicant’s sincerely held religious beliefs – unless doing so would pose an undue hardship,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office.  “This case demonstrates the EEOC’s continued commitment to fighting religious discrimination in the workplace.”

The settlement comes on the heel of a lawsuit that the EEOC filed last week against a Raleigh, North Carolina, accusing it of discrimination against a Rastafarian by firing him because he wouldn’t remove his head covering, which would have violated his religious beliefs.

Perhaps the local chamber of commerce in North Carolina should sent out reminders to companies that they have to let employees wear a beard if it doesn’t interfere with their job duties or cause the company an undue hardship.

Here’s EEOC’s announcement of the settlement.


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