MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit Aug. 25 against Century Park Associates LLC, doing business as Garden Plaza at Greenbriar Cove.
The company operates a senior and assisted living community in Ooltewah, Tennessee
According to EEOC, Century Park violated federal law by demanding that two employees work on their Sabbath. The employees are both members of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and their religion requires that they not work from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
The company allegedly told them they had to agree to work Saturdays or resign their posts. The employees resigned but later sought reinstatement to work and religious accommodation, but the owner allegedly denied them. Alleged conduct of this nature violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
"Employers should not force employees to choose between their job and their religious beliefs," said Katharine Kores, director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office. "Making reasonable accommodations to employees' religious beliefs -- except where it poses an undue hardship -- is not just reasonable - it's required by federal law."
The EEOC seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the employees, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination by the company.