EEOC Wins Settlement of Suit on Behalf of Muslim

November 28, 2011 ( - A Philadelphia-area security company will pay $50,000 and furnish equitable relief to settle a federal religious discrimination lawsuit, the  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced.

The EEOC charged that Imperial Security, Inc. failed to accommodate the religious beliefs of Julie Holloway-Russell, who is Muslim, and terminated her instead. Holloway-Russell wore a khimar, religious garb which covers her hair, ears and neck, as required by her religious beliefs, when she interviewed for the job of security guard. However, when she reported to her first work assignment wearing her khimar, she was told to remove it. Holloway-Russell respectfully refused to do so because her religious beliefs mandated that she wear the religious head covering.  

The EEOC charged that by failing to modify its dress code to allow Holloway-Russell to wear her khimar and instead terminating her, the company violated federal law.  

In addition to  the monetary relief to Holloway-Russell, the three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit contains remedial relief, including prohibiting  Imperial Security from further discriminating based on religion or engaging in unlawful retaliation. Imperial Security will designate an EEO officer who will receive complaints of discrimination or retaliation and revise its employee handbook to permit accommodation of religious beliefs. The company will establish a procedure for handling any complaints of discrimination and a disciplinary policy for any employee who engages in discriminatory or retaliatory behavior. The company will also provide annual training on Title VII to all employees, report to the EEOC regarding how it handled any complaints of religious discrimination or retaliation, and post a remedial notice.  

The EEOC has filed a number religious bias suits dealing with Muslims’ right to wear religious attire (see EEOC Prevails in Suit against Abercrombie).