American Medical Response, a Greenwood Village-based provider of medical transportation and subsidiary of Nashville-based Envision Healthcare, violated federal law by refusing to provide religious accommodation to an employee, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit filed last week.
According to the suit, an employee of the company’s Memphis facility, a Jehovah’s Witness, requested Sundays off to worship. AMR initially accommodated request, but after seven months informed the employee it was not required to provide her with a religious accommodation.
AMR eventually fired the employee, ostensibly for receiving two “no-call/no-shows” in a 12-month period, and for a seatbelt violation. EEOC contends that AMR unlawfully discharged the employee because of her religion and in retaliation.
Such alleged conduct violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court after first trying to reach a settlement. EEOC seeks injunctive relief prohibiting AMR from discriminating against employees based on their religion, as well as back pay, compensatory and punitive damages.
“Employers are required by law to provide their employees reasonable religious accommodations,” said Katharine W. Kores, district director of EEOC’s Memphis office. “Further, they only make a bad situation worse if they punish an employee for making such requests. Those who fail to observe these legal requirements, which are also simple common sense, open themselves up to potential litigation and must be prepared to suffer the legal consequences of their unlawful actions.”
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