Waitress fired for refusing to wear pants at work

Restaurant owner faces religious discrimination lawsuit over trouser requirements

Waitress fired for refusing to wear pants at work
The US' Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing a restaurant chain for firing an employee who refused to wear company-prescribed pants because of her religious beliefs.

On her first day of work at a Georgia Blue restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi, Kaetoya Watkins wore a denim skirt even as waitresses were required to wear blue jeans. 

She had earlier told her manager that her religion –Pentecostal – prohibited her from wearing pants. She got no response.

She was fired when she got to the restaurant. Later she received a voicemail message from the manager saying he had spoken with the owner and that the restaurant "would 'not stray away from' its dress code policy,” the Jackson Free Press reported.

The commission says Georgia Blue LLC, whose restaurants sell southern and Creole food in four Mississippi cities, discriminated against the beliefs of its employee.

"Most religious accommodations are not burdensome, such as allowing an employee to wear a skirt instead of pants," Marsha L. Rucker, an EEOC attorney, said in a statement.

"It would have been simple to allow Ms. Watkins to wear a long skirt at work. No worker should be obligated to choose between making a living and following her religious convictions."

The federal agency, requesting a jury trial, also seeks appropriate back pay and punitive damages for the employee.
It also wants to permanently ban the restaurant chain “from applying its dress code policies in a manner that fails to accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of its employees and applicants."

The EEOC regional office in Birmingham, Alabama, handles cases for most of Mississippi.

 

Related stories:
Merchandiser wins compo after "time theft" sacking
Banker sacked over Tinder messages

Free newsletter

Our daily newsletter is FREE and keeps you up-to-date with the world of HR. Please complete the form below and click on subscribe for daily newsletters from HRD New Zealand.

Recent articles & video

How to handle a toxic, yet talented, employee

Why do many senior managers distrust big data?

The enigma of employee satisfaction

Google activists point to 'hostile' work environment after walkout

Most Read Articles

How to offer a stellar employee recognition program

Is your organization making this killer diversity mistake?

Religion, rugby and contracts