Vanessa Garcia, Chief Executive Officer
Rene Moya, Elementary Division Manager
September 1, 2013
Constructive Discharge and Religious Accommodation Research CC:
As a result of our company's growth, a new workplace schedule for the production department took effect at the beginning of this year. This new schedule requires production employees to work and rotate 12-hour shifts for four days followed by four days off. Recently, a former employee filed charges against the company citing religious discrimination because the new product work schedule was discriminatory against his religion. Presented in this memo is information gathered regarding elements pertaining to constructive discharge, religious accommodation, and the Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964. This memorandum will outline those items and legal references and actions the company should consider to remedy legal actions brought by a former employee's claim of discrimination.
Creating working conditions so intolerable that a reasonable person would quit his or her job is the definition of constructive discharge. According to the California Labor Law Digest, to defend a constructive discharge claim, the employee must not only show that working conditions were so insufferable that they were forced to resign, also "the employee must notify the employer of these conditions prior to resigning." Constructive discharge would have to be the foundation of a wrongful termination, as well. For this to transpire as an employer, we must have somehow violated public law, such as Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964, or an employment contract and purposefully selected an employee for some kind of attack, in other words, targeting the employee for some reason. As you know, at the beginning of this year, the production department's new work schedule took effect and all employees in that department work a rotating shift. With that said, a former production employee alleges the new work schedule required that employee to work on a religious holy day, therefore, the employee was forced to quit because that employee felt discriminated against because the employee was not able to observed a religious holy. An example the California Labor Law Digest provides for an employee to succeed with a constructive discharge claim is that the employee was "required to leave his/her job within a 'reasonable amount of time' after the last act of discrimination or harassment.” With that in mind, it begs the question did the employee advise the company that the new schedule would conflict with a religious observation and if so, how many religious holy days did the employee not get to observe. It appears however, in lieu lodging a complaint through the company's internal problem solving channels, the former employee chose to quit without having the company take remedial action to investigate the complaint. As a result of bypassing the company's internal complaint procedures, the former employee filed a discrimination claim directly with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claiming discrimination based on that employee's religion. The intent of new production work schedule was in response to the growth of our company's operational needs to increase productivity, not to force employees to quit their jobs. The assumption is made the employee failed to allow the company to rectify any claim of discrimination so the employee could observe the religious holy day in question. Based on the information provided thus far and the assumptions made about the employee's past actions or lack thereof to follow the company's problem solving procedures and/or inquire on an accommodation, the scenario of constructive discharge or wrongful termination would not apply to our company.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) created laws and regulations to...
References: California Chamber of Commerce. (2010). 2011 California Labor Law Digest. (2011 edition). Sacramento, CA: CalChamber.
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. (2008, February 11). EEOC v. Firestone Fibers & Textiles. Retrieved from
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United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. (2007, October 15). Tepper v. Potter. Retrieved from http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9818752095368667745&q=Tepper+v.%09Potter&hl=en&as_sdt=2,5
United Stated Department of Labor. (2013, August 18). Wage and Hour Division Compliance Assistance - Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Retrieved from http://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/
United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2013, August 18). Religious Discrimination. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/religion.cfm
United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2013, August 18). Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm
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