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At Lowe’s, a Sunday-hours lawsuit

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit against Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s March 30, for allegedly requiring an employee of its Morristown, Tenn., store to work on Sunday.

“Lowe’s Home Centers committed religious discrimination by requiring an employee to work on his Sabbath, and by harassing and retaliating against the employee, causing him to lose hours,” the EEOC said in a release issued March 31.

 

According to the release, the Lowe’s employee, who is a Baptist, submitted two written requests for religious accommodation not to be scheduled for work on the Sabbath, Sunday. The release went on to say that the company ignored the requests for six months and then denied the request, stating, “it might create a hardship on other employees who might like to have Sundays off.”

Chris Ahearn, VP public relations, issued the following statement to HCN: “Because this is pending litigation, we are not able to comment on details of the suit. With that said, Lowe’s has a deep commitment to diversity and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status or any other characteristics protected under the law.”

The EEOC suit claims that the employee was reduced from full-time to part-time status, and was not allowed to apply for open full-time positions due to the objection to Sunday hours.

In the suit, which was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Northeastern division, the EEOC asks the court to issue an injunction prohibiting future discrimination and enjoining Lowe’s from continuing its policy of refusing reasonable accommodation to its employees based on religious beliefs. It also asked the court to order Lowe’s to reinstate the employee at full-time status and provide back pay and other damages for his non-pecuniary losses, to include emotional and psychological harm, as well as punitive damages.

“The law clearly requires that an employer demonstrates that it made some attempt to accommodate the religious beliefs of its employees,” said Katharine W. Kores, the EEOC’s director for the Memphis District Office. “To simply ignore the request for an accommodation obviously fails to meet that test. Lowe’s has not shown that allowing the employee off from work on his Sabbath, Sunday, would impose an undue hardship on Lowe’s.”

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Whirlpool names Ottawa, Ohio, plant official manufacturing site

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool has announced that the former W.C. Wood manufacturing site in Ottawa, Ohio, will become an official Whirlpool manufacturing site of freezers, effective May 3.

“We have determined that the Ottawa facility has the potential to produce freezers under our leading portfolio of brands at globally competitive cost and quality levels,” said Alan Holaday, VP manufacturing operations, North America Region, Whirlpool. 

“Once fully operational, the Ottawa facility will be an integral part of our U.S. operations team, which includes employees in production, research and development, warehousing and operations. Our employees design and build the most innovative appliances in the world,” Holaday said.

The company said the facility will create approximately 190 jobs.

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USG names new VP and controller

BY HBSDEALER Staff

USG Corp. has elected William J. Kelley Jr. to the position of VP and controller, effective March 30. Kelley replaces D. Rick Lowes, who was named senior VP finance.

Kelley will serve as USG’s principal accounting officer and oversee all corporate control activities, including management of external financial reporting, corporate accounting and management reporting. He will report to Richard H. Fleming, USG’s executive VP and chief financial officer.

He previously served as VP finance at Pepsi Beverages Co.

Kelley holds a number of professional designations: Certified Public Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Information Systems Auditor. He began his career as an accountant with a Chicago subsidiary of Cargill Inc. and later worked for Arthur Andersen.

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