EEOC: Texas Burger King Franchisee Pays $25,000 For Skirting Religious Issues

Filed under: Discrimination,Legal,News |

Dallas-based Fries Restaurant Management, which operates numerous Burger King franchises in Texas, will pay a former employee $25,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

EEOCAccording to the EEOC’s lawsuit (Civil Action No. 3:12-CV-3169-M), Ashanti McShan, a member of the Christian Pentecostal Church, adheres to an interpretation of Biblical Scripture that women should wear skirts or dresses.

At the time she applied to work as a cashier at a Grand Prairie, Texas, Burger King franchise operated by Fries Restaurant Management, she informed the interviewer of her need to wear a black skirt instead of black uniform pants as a religious accommodation.

She was interviewed and hired by a shift manager, who told her at the time of her interview that her religious accommodation request could be granted.

However, when McShan arrived for orientation, she was told by store management that the employer would not allow her to wear a skirt and that she had to leave.

McShan tried to explain to management that the skirt was an accommodation of her religious beliefs. She was again told that she could not work in the skirt. Her subsequent attempts to contact higher management were unsuccessful.

McShan, who was in her teens, was fired as a result of the accommodation denial, the EEOC said.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits religious discrimination and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees’ and applicants’ sincerely held religious beliefs as long as this does not pose an undue hardship.

EEOC Files Suit

The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

“Both the EEOC and Ms. McShan are pleased with the resolution of this lawsuit,” said EEOC trial attorney Meaghan Shepard.

“We hope that the training and other non-monetary relief called for under the settlement will prevent situations like this in the future, and provide protection for other employees whose perhaps lesser-known religious beliefs require minor workplace accommodations,” Shepard said. “Education, communication, and understanding are the keys to accommodation requests.”

In addition to the cash payment to McShan, the consent decree settling the suit requires the company to provide training to district and general managers in its Texas Burger King franchises on the laws enforced by the EEOC.

The company must also post a notice of non-discrimination on employee bulletin boards.

“In this economic environment, it is hard enough for young people like Ms. McShan to secure jobs without the added hurdle of non-accommodation of religious beliefs,” said Robert A. Canino, Regional Attorney of the EEOC’s Dallas office. “This is a positive resolution that sends the right message that folks don’t have to compromise their beliefs in seeking gainful employment.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at

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