COMPANY REFUSED TO EXCUSE ABSENCES FROM DAILY PRAYER MEETINGS
The owner of a North Carolina-based home repair company, Aurora Renovations and Developments, LLC – d/b/a Aurora Pro Services -- allegedly required his employees to attend daily prayer meetings. And when a worker asked to be excused, the company not only refused his request, but cut his pay, and eventually fired him. In another instance, a customer service rep was fired when she stopped attending the meetings because they conflicted with her religious beliefs.
Alleging that such conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit in U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Aurora Renovations ad Developments, LLC, d/b/a Aurora Pro Services, Civil Action No.: 1:22-cv-00490) seeking monetary damages and injunctive relief.
On August 2, 2023, the EEOC announced that a settlement had been reached with the Aurora, and that in addition to paying $50,000, the latter agreed to an injunction mandating that it modify its employment policies and practices and that it train all employees, managers, and the owner on the requirements of law.
In a written statement, Melinda C. Dugas, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District, noted that, “Federal law protects employees from having to choose between their sincerely held religious beliefs and their jobs …. Employers who sponsor prayer meetings in the workplace have a legal obligation to accommodate employees whose personal religious beliefs conflict with the company’s practice.”
Can you hear them Aurora?
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