Written by Don Byrd

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) last week announced a lawsuit filed against WalMart alleging religious discrimination for failure to accommodate than employee’s religious scheduling requirements. The company refused the request of Edward Hedican, a Seventh-Day Adventist, to not work between sundown on Friday and sundown Saturday. 

In its announcement, the EEOC made clear this was not Walmart’s first violation. Here is an excerpt from the press release:

“The EEOC has sued Walmart in the past for this very type of religious discrimination,” said Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District. “An employer of Walmart’s size and resources should know that the law requires employers to accommodate employees’ religious beliefs, or at least make a sincere effort to accommodate them. The EEOC will go to court as many times as necessary to ensure Walmart understands its obligations under the law.”

Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC’s Chicago District, said, “Where an employer’s scheduling conflicts with an employee’s religious beliefs, the employer must try to find an accommodation that eliminates the conflict, if it can do so without undue hardship. But the EEOC found during its investigation that Walmart rescinded Mr. Hedican’s offer rather than even try to accommodate him. This is not the right way to handle such situations, as Walmart still needs to learn.”

For more on this topic, see the EEOC’s religious discrimination resource page.