A Muslim man who objected to rules requiring him to get rid of his beard if he wanted to become a driver for UPS Inc. was told by a UPS official that “G-d would understand” if he shaved, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity commissioner said in a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the shipping company.
The lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn alleges that the man was one of several employees who were victims of religious discrimination in the past decade by the nation’s largest package delivery company. The EEOC wants the court to force the company to comply with Civil Rights Act protections and to award the plaintiffs back pay and unspecified damages.
“No person should be forced to choose between their religion and a paycheck, and EEOC will seek to put an end to that longstanding practice at UPS,” said Robert D. Rose, an attorney for the agency’s New York office.
UPS spokesman Steve Gaut said in a statement Wednesday that the Atlanta-based company has protocols in place for employees to seek permission for religious accommodations when it comes to appearance or work schedules.