COLUMBIA, S.C. (Legal
Newsline) – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit Nov. 3 against Akebono Brake Corp., a company in Michigan
that designs and manufactures automotive brakes, over allegations of violating
federal civil rights laws.
Clintoria Burnett, according
to EEOC, is an observant member of the Apostolic Faith Church of God and
True Holiness, a Pentecostal Christian denomination.
Her religion forbids her
from wearing pants because she is a woman; instead she must wear skirts or
dresses as commanded. A temporary labor service provider (TLSP) allegedly hired
her in or around October 2014 and stated that she would work at Akebono’s West
Columbia, South Carolina, facility. Akebono had a policy of requiring employees to wear
pants and therefore refused Burnett, the EEOC claimed.
"Under federal law,
employers have an obligation to attempt a fair balance between an employee's
right to practice his or her religion and the operation of their
business," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC's Charlotte
District Office. "This case demonstrates EEOC's commitment to fighting
religious discrimination in the workplace."
EEOC seeks back pay,
compensatory damages, punitive damages and instatement or front pay.