to: | James Smith; CEO, Big Toy Co. |
from: | Joe Polley; Division Manager, Big Toy Co. |
subject: | John Doe – Constructive Discharge Claim |
date: | February 22, 2014 |
On January 13, 2014, John Doe (“Doe”), a production employee at the Dayton, Ohio facility, tendered his voluntary resignation claiming religious discrimination. Doe, up until his resignation, worked for Big Toy Co. in a variety of positions for over twenty years with no recorded employment or discipline issues. On January 19, 2014, Doe filed a claim against Big Toy Co., citing constructive discharge under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The claim specifically relates to his belief ...view middle of the document...
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Protected Category
According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), religion is a protected category under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Statutes). Furthermore, the EEOC defines religious discrimination as “…treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs” (Types of Descrimination).
The core question that needs to be answered is whether religious discrimination occurred or not against Doe. In order to prove this, a prima facie case must be established by Doe, and until that happens, the burden does not switch to Big Toy Co (Turpen v. Missouri-Kansas-Texas R. Co., 1984).
It is an uncontested fact that Doe is a religious man. This is proven through interviews with his former co-workers, who also know Doe outside of work. The problem that Doe has establishing the prima facie case is the fact that he never made Big Toy Co. or any of Doe’s supervisors aware of the conflict he was facing with being required to work on his Sabbath days (Anderson v. General Dynamics Convair Aerospace Division, 1978). If this notification had occurred, Big Toy Co. would have had the chance to attempt to accommodate Doe in a reasonable manner.
Constructive Discharge Relevance to Doe’s Claim
The United States Department of Labor defines states that constructive discharge “…is when a worker’s resignation or retirement may be found not to be voluntary because the employer has created a hostile or intolerable work environment or has applied other forms of pressure or coercion which forced the employee to quit or resign” (eLaws - WARN Advisor Glossary).
Doe is claiming that his religious beliefs were not being respected because the new work schedule would require him to work on his religions holy days, while the old schedule did not make that requirement. Under the ‘old’ schedule, Doe was able to celebrate all of his weekly religious holy days, which are every Sunday. While operating under the ‘new’ schedule, he would be required to work one to two Sundays per month.
Because Doe felt that his religious beliefs were not being taken into account by Big Toy Co., he felt like he had no other recourse than to terminate his employment. By definition alone, constructive discharge does apply to this claim. However, at no time did Doe either request an alternate schedule, or did he ever ask for any of his co-workers to trade shifts with him in order to attend his holy day functions.
In the case Tepper v. Potter (Tepper v. Potter, 2007), Martin Tepper, then an employee of the United States Postal Service (USPS), requested accommodations to not work Saturdays due to his religious beliefs. The USPS granted his accommodations, and for over ten years, other USPS employees would cover his Saturdays, without interrupting the rotating schedules of the other letter carriers. In 2003, budget cuts...