A Muslim man from Delaware County will receive $15,800 and managers at several suburban Burger Kings will receive special training on religious rights under the terms of a lawsuit settlement filed yesterday in federal court.
Gary Majors, 42, of Chester, who was represented by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was fired from his job as a food handler at a Brookhaven Burger King in November 2004 after refusing to shave his beard.
While the fast-food restaurant did have a clean-shaven policy, employees were allowed to have facial hair for religious purposes. Majors, a Muslim, provided a letter from his imam, or religious leader, "stating that he was a Muslim and in good standing for many years," Cynthia Locke, an EEOC litigator, said.
Despite the letter, Majors was fired. According to Majors' testimony, he was not given the option of wearing a chin guard for his "short, well-groomed beard," Locke said.
Phinorice Boldin, attorney for Chriskoll Inc., owner of the Brookhaven Burger King, declined to answer questions regarding the case.
"We deny any and all allegations of wrongdoing," she said.
Under terms of the "consent decree," or settlement, Chriskoll, Inc., which owns six Burger Kings throughout Delaware and Chester counties, will train supervisors and managers about employee rights and, especially, religious accommodations, Locke said. *