Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DOJ Files Title VII Suit Against Chicago School District for Refusing to Accommodate Teacher’s Pilgrimage to Mecca

In the first suit brought under a new cooperative program between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the DOJ alleges that the Berkeley School District in suburban Chicago violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to reasonably accommodate Safoorah Khan's religious beliefs when she opted to quit her job after being denied three weeks of unpaid leave that would allow her to take a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The pilgrimage, known as Hajj, is required by Khan's religion. According to the complaint, Berkeley School District denied Ms. Khan’s request because the purpose of her leave was not related to her professional duties nor was it leave for any of the specific purposes set forth in the Professional Negotiations Agreement between the district and the teachers’ union.

The matter was initially charged with the EEOC who found reasonable cause to believe discrimination occurred and then it was referred the charge to the Department of Justice after conciliation failed. Here is the DOJ Press Release on the suit.

Enochs Law Firm

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