CHARLESTON, S.C. (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced June 20 that J.C. Witherspoon J.R. Inc., a logging company with headquarters in Alcolu, South Carolina, will pay $53,000 after allegations of religious discrimination.
According to EEOC, Leroy Lawson has been a follower of the Hebrew Pentecostal faith for roughly 35 years. As part of his adherence to the religion, he observes a sabbath that begins Friday at sunset and ends Saturday at sunset. His religion mandates that no work be done during the sabbath.
Lawson was hired by J.C. Witherspoon in March 2012, at which time he told them about his religious adherence to the aabbath. He asked for a reasonable accommodation that he not be scheduled to work on Saturdays. The company refused the request and then terminated his employment after he refused to show up for work on Saturdays.
"No employee should be forced to choose between his faith and his job," Kara Gibbon Haden, acting regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office, said in a statement. "The EEOC will defend people's religious rights under federal employment law."