Darrell Littrell, a Seventh-day Adventist living in Asheville, North Carolina, was offered a job as a donut maker at a Citi Brands, a manufacturing facility of Dunkin Donuts near Arden, North Carolina. When the plant manager offered him the job Littrell was told he would start work the next day at 3pm on Friday. Littrell was in difficulty. As a Seventh-day Adventist, Littrell keeps Saturday holy because it is the Bible Sabbath. This means that he does not work between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday.
When he told the plant manager his convictions, the manager rescinded the job offer, which eventually led to a lawsuit filed against Dunkin Donuts by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC tried to reach a voluntary settlement through an administrative conciliation process first, to no avail.
“The legal action is seeking back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for Littrell, as well as injunctive and other non-monetary relief.”
“Employers should be mindful that it is against the law to discriminate against an applicant or an employee based on his religion, including the observance of the Sabbath,” said Lynette Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte district. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from refusing to hire people because of their religion, and requires employers to make an effort at a reasonable accommodation for sincerely held religious beliefs.”
For the time being U.S. law defends sincerely held religious belief. That will change one day and Sabbath-keepers will come under economic and legal pressure if they refuse to compromise the Sabbath.