EEOC Settles Religious Discrimination Case against Blockbuster

June 15, 2005 ( - The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency charged with enforcing workplace discrimination laws, has settled a suit against Blockbuster Inc. for $50,000 over whether a teen employee could wear a Jewish yarmulke.

According to a report in the Phoenix Business Journal, the suit charged that Leonard Teplitsky worked at a Scottsdale Blockbuster and was told by managers that he could not wear the traditional Jewish headgear because of a prohibition against headwear of any type. At the time, Teplitsky was a 17-year-old high school student, the report said.

“Blockbuster is pleased to have reached a conclusion in this case,” said company spokesman Randy Hargrove from Blockbuster’s Dallas headquarters, according to the report. “This was an unfortunate, isolated incident and these allegations do not reflect the way we conduct business at our stores.” Blockbuster is a national video rental chain.

Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix District office, said religious discrimination cases are up 30% nationwide over the past 10 years, the Business Journal reported.