McDonald’s restaurants in Central Florida have been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for refusing to hire a job applicant due to his religious beliefs. According to the lawsuit, McDonalds grooming policy failed to adequately accommodate the applicant’s religious observation regarding facial hair.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, a practicing Hasidic Jew applied for a part-time maintenance worker position at a McDonald's in Florida. During his interview, the hiring manager told the applicant he would be hired but needed to shave his beard to comply with McDonald's grooming policy. McDonald's grooming policy states "[a]ll employees must be completely clean shaven." The applicant told the hiring manager he would not be able to shave his beard due to his religious beliefs. The applicant offered to wear a beard net as a solution but the McDonald’s did not accept the solution and denied the applicant due to the issue.
This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits dis-crimination based on religion and requires employers to reasonably accommodate an applicant's or employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs, unless it poses an undue hardship. "The fact that McDonald's has grooming policies does not exempt them from following the law," said a representative from the EEOC. "McDonalds was aware the applicant could not shave his beard for religious reasons but refused to accommodate his religious beliefs. Employers should never force applicants to choose between their sincerely held religious beliefs, which can be reasonably accommodated, and earning a living."