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Michigan-based company at center of discrimination lawsuit

Most Michigan workers are probably aware that they have key rights in the workplace. However, many don't realize the extent of their rights, or the extent to which they can be protected, under employment law. One aspect of employment law that is often misunderstood is the fact that workers also have rights when it comes to employment with temporary agencies or staffing firms.

Earlier this month, a workplace discrimination lawsuit was filed which alleges that a Michigan-based company violated anti-discrimination laws when it terminated a worker. The female worker belongs to an observant denomination of Christian Pentecostals and, as a result, she does not wear pants but rather dresses and skirts. At the company where she worked, which makes brake parts for cars, the dress code stipulated that workers wear pants when at the facility.

The female worker at the center of the lawsuit had initially signed on with a temporary staffing agency, although she was ultimately denied employment by the brake parts producer. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the company ultimately decided not to hire the woman because of her religion, and also failed to offer her the chance for a reasonable accommodation to the dress code. The company issued a directive to the temporary agency and they withdrew their offer of employment to the woman.

Now, the EEOC is asking for back pay for the woman, as well as compensatory damages, which is not an unusual request in a workplace discrimination or wrongful termination case. In addition, the EEOC seeks injunctive relief and punitive damages.

Source: Staffing Industry Analysis, "EEOC Lawsuit Claims Religious Discrimination Against Temp," Nov. 7, 2016

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