When a boss tells you to do something, you do it. At least that’s how it is supposed to be done in America. And if you aren’t willing to do the task, you don’t have to. You can either explain to the boss why you can’t do it – maybe you don’t work on Sunday because you’re Christian, for example or you need time off because you’re pregnant and need to go to the doctor – but you don’t sue your employer because you disagree with what they do. If you hold beliefs that strongly, you should find employment elsewhere.
But that’s not what one Costco employee decided to do. Since he is Muslim, he refused to work with pork. Costco respected that decision, so they offered him an alternative job gathering the carts outside. Now this man, Jean Camara, has filed a lawsuit against the giant wholesaler for religious discrimination…
Muslims do not eat pork products because they are viewed as being unclean by their religious standards. Just as many Jewish people only eat Kosher foods, this in itself is fine.
But when Camara got a job at Costco working with their pork products, he cited his religion as a reason that he didn’t want to perform that task. Costco listened to him and gave him a chance to go outside to bring in carts. They didn’t fire him. They didn’t suspend him. They offered him another job that was more in alignment with his religious freedom. Because they treated him differently as per his request, Camara sued them for discrimination.
“Just because you have a different belief, that doesn’t give anybody the right to treat you different,” said Camara.
In September 2012, Camara was hired by the Costco in Sunset Park Brooklyn, where he got a job as a cashier’s assistant. The man is a devout Muslim.
When pork products came across the conveyer belt, Camara refused to touch them. His religious beliefs forbid him from touching pork or alcohol. So, he wanted to follow his religion and told his manager the reason, he wouldn’t touch the food.
Because he told them about the restriction on pork products, the managers responded by switching him to cart duty outside.
Camara claims he was never told why he was being reassigned. And he claims that when he asked to be put in another department besides cart duty, they never honored that request.
Without hesitation, Camara filed a human rights complaint against the company.
“I think that as the case progresses in the trial we are in now, I think the facts are going to come out and they’re going to speak for themselves,” said Chauncey Henry, Camara’s attorney.
16 days after he told his manager about his restriction, he was fired for insubordinate conduct.
“We all share different beliefs so we all should be treated equally no matter what belief we have,” Camara said.
“It’s not OK to discriminate against someone for their religion. It isn’t OK. It isn’t OK to treat them differently others because of what they believe in. I think that everyone is entitled to the same treatment. I think that’s what this case is about,” Henry said.
Do you think this is religious discrimination?
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