The EEOC’s complaint alleged that theÂ companies informed Silver she must wear pants to work because of their dressÂ code policy.Â According to the EEOC,Â Silver told Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home she could notÂ wear pants because of her religious beliefs.Â Â However, the companies ultimately fired her for refusing to wear pantsÂ to work.
Scottish Food Systems,Â Inc. and Laurinburg KFC Take Home, Inc. will pay $40,000 and furnish otherÂ relief to resolve a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. EqualÂ Employment Opportunity ComÂmission (EEOC), the agency announced today.Â Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC TakeÂ Home are based in Laurinburg, N.C.Â andÂ jointly operate a chain of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in NorthÂ Carolina.
According to the EEOC’s complaint, SheilaÂ Silver converted to Pentecostalism in 2010.Â Â As a member of the Pentecostal church, Silver believes women cannot wearÂ pants.Â In accordance with this religiousÂ belief, Silver has not worn pants since the fall of 2010.Â Silver has worked for various Kentucky FriedÂ Chicken restaurants since 1992.Â ScottishÂ Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home purchased the KFC restaurant whereÂ Silver worked in Rocky Mount, N.C., in April 2013.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the CivilÂ Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which requires employers to reasonablyÂ accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs as long as doing so would not poseÂ an undue hardship.Â The EEOC filed suit onÂ September 19, 2013 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of NorthÂ Carolina (EEOC v. Scottish Food Systems,Â Inc. and Laurinburg KFC Take Home, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:13-CV-00796)Â after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through itsÂ conciliation process.
InÂ addition to monetary damages, the three-year consent decree resolving the suitÂ requires Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home to adopt a formalÂ religious accommodation policy and to conduct an annual training program on theÂ requirements of Title VII and its prohibition against religious discrimination.Â Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC TakeÂ Home will also post a copy of their anti-discrimination policy at all of theirÂ facilities.
“EmployersÂ must accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious belief when such anÂ accommodation would not pose an undue hardship,” saidÂ Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte DistrictÂ Office.Â “This case demonstrates theÂ EEOC’s continued commitment to fighting religious discrimination in theÂ workplace.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcingÂ federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment.Â Further information about the EEOC isÂ available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov