Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s has agreed to pay $120,000 to settle a religious discrimination and retaliation lawsuit over an employee who claimed he was scheduled to work on Sunday, against his wishes.
The U.S. District Court case, filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charged that Lowe’s violated federal law when it refused to reasonably accommodate the religious belief of an employee at its Morristown, Tenn., store. The worker had requested being excused from working on the Christian Sabbath. Instead, the EEOC said, the company retaliated against him when it scheduled him to work on Sunday for 27 out of 28 weeks.
Lowe’s has denied the allegations. “We’re confident we would have been successful at trial, but by resolving the case, we can get back to the business of servicing our customers,” said a Lowe’s spokesperson.
Besides providing monetary relief, the Sept. 20 consent decree enjoins Lowe’s from any future refusal to accommodate the “sincerely held religious beliefs” of its employees or retaliating against any employee for requesting a religious accommodation. The decree provides that Lowe’s will make an addendum to its human resource management guide. In addition, Lowe’s will provide employment discrimination awareness training to its store managers, assistant managers and human resource managers in the East Tennessee area, and post a notice regarding the settlement.
Lowe’s said it offered the aggrieved employee alternatives to working on Sunday “that balanced his needs with the store’s ability to service our customers.” The company maintains an environment that respects its employees’ religious beliefs, its spokesperson said.