Federal law protects Americans from religious discrimination, whether the violation is in the form of a law or an action on the part of a business owner. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
Sources reported that a Kroger grocery store in Arkansas fired two Christian women who refused to wear a rainbow-colored heart emblem on the bib of their aprons, which they believed symbolized support for homosexuality. They’d asked for a religious accommodation, but Kroger refused. The women offered compromises, which were refused. They filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Kroger.
From the EEOC (emphasis added):
The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Central Division, Civil Action No. 4:20-cv-01099, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay and compensatory damages, as well as an injunction against future discrimination.
“Companies have an obligation under Title VII to consider requests for religious accommodations, and it is illegal to terminate employees for requesting an accommodation for their religious beliefs,” said Delner-Franklin Thomas, district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. “The EEOC protects the rights of the LGBTQ community, but it also protects the rights of religious people.”
It’s difficult to believe Kroger rejected the EEOC’s offer to settle the complaint, apparently preferring to argue in a court of law that it has a right to discriminate against Christian employees. It’s unlikely the company will prevail in court.