Client Services Inc. agreed to pay $65,000 in back pay and other damages to resolve claims filed on behalf of a former collector, Mariam Soultan, who was not permitted to work while wearing a head scarf required by her Muslim beliefs, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Thursday.
The suit alleged that in May 2007, St. Peters, Mo.-based Client Services, a collection company, terminated Soultan and told her that no exception could be made to the dress code policy, which prohibits hats and other head wear. Soultan would have been assigned to a cubicle and used a telephone head set to perform her collection duties.
The EEOC contended Soultan could have worn a head set over her scarf in her collector position, which has virtually no in-person customer contact.
"Title VII protects people of all religious beliefs," James Neely Jr., director of the EEOC's St. Louis District Office, said in a statement. "If a request can be reasonably accommodated, then an employee should never have to choose between performing her job and honoring her faith."
The two-year consent decree, which must be approved by the U.S. District Court in St. Louis, also requires Client Services to disseminate a revised dress code policy informing employees of their right to religious accommodation and to provide training to all managers on religious discrimination. [Link]
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