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Texas senior living company settles religious discrimination suit

A religious discrimination lawsuit was recently settled after an employee's religious beliefs were disregarded by a manager at a Texas-based senior assisted living home. The company, Senior Living Properties, LLC, will pay $42,500; bolster its training regarding discrimination in the workplace; and enact other provisions to compensate for the unfortunate episode.

The incident involved a dietary services manager at Senior Living, who worked for the company for years. During her time, the administrators at Senior Living knew the employee was religious and respected her request to not work on Sundays. But when a new administrator was brought on board, things quickly changed -- the woman was asked to work on Sundays.

She pleaded with the new administrator to no avail. The employee was told that if she did not comply with the decision, "there's the door." The new administrator also made several comments assuring the employee that God would permit her to work on a Sunday. Such dismissive behavior is reprehensible and illegal. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission supported the employee with her lawsuit.

There are a few things to remember if you have been the victim of discrimination in the workplace. The first thing you should do is report the incident to human resources as soon as possible. Having the incident documented and showing that you are unhappy with the way you were treated is an important step. Second, you want to document the incident as best you can. Preserve any evidence (such as emails or other paperwork) and keep a list of witnesses and quotes from the incident. Dates, times and locations are also important.

Once you have these pieces in place, the last -- but not least -- important thing to do is get in touch with an experienced employment law attorney.

Source: Senior Housing News, "Senior Living Properties, LLC Settles Discrimination Suit with EEOC," Alyssa Gerace, March 19, 2013

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