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GM Workers allege discrimination due to their religious beliefs

It is not uncommon for employees who are religious to request taking time off work for worship. Texas workers who are not given the right to take time away from work for religious holidays may feel that they are victims of religious discrimination because they are being denied accommodations. Recently, two General Motors employees filed a class action lawsuit against the company for disallowing unpaid leave for religious observance.

The two plaintiffs allege that, at first, they were permitted to take the time off that they needed for their faiths. They claim that later the decision was reversed. One of the men began working for the company in 2000, but, in 2008, he began requesting to take time off on Saturdays to celebrate the Sabbath, along with other religious holy days. He claims he could take the time without needing to use vacation time to make up for the hours he was missing. The man asserts that the accommodation was changed to only allow him to take off Saturdays in 2013.

The other plaintiff also needed accommodations. Although a Christian, the plaintiff observed many Jewish traditions as well. He also was permitted to take unpaid time off for religious observance, but he was no longer able to do so in 2013. According to the complaint, on specific holy days, the men were unable to work, and their beliefs also prohibited them from receiving pay on those days.

The plaintiffs filed a class action complaint against GM, claiming that the company was in violation of Title VII because it would not accommodate the workers' religious observances. Both of the men allege that they were put under emotional duress after the company insulted them and made them feel inferior because of their beliefs. They are seeking punitive and compensatory damages, as well as legal fees, in their complaint. Texas workers who feel that they have experienced religious discrimination can elect to file complaints against their employers in an effort to be awarded financial relief for the emotional distress caused by the discrimination. They may also be granted injunctions to prevent such occurrences from happening in the future.

Source: setexasrecord.com, "Class action alleges GM refusing to allow worker's to take 'holy days'", David Yates, March 6, 2015

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