WASHINGTON, D.C. 15 December 2004 LAWFUEL – Best for law news, legal research, civil rights news, criminal law, Department of Justice – The Department of Justice today announced that it has filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) alleging a pattern or practice of religious discrimination in employment.
The government’s complaint alleges that the MTA has enforced an unnecessary requirement that Operations Division employees be available for work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, at any location. According to the government, the MAT has refused to even consider whether allowing limited exceptions to accommodate employees’ religious obligations would interfere with the MAT’s operations. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the MAT discriminated against Henry Asher, a member of the Jewish faith, by refusing to consider accommodating Asher’s religious practice of observing the Sabbath from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday.
“For more than 200 years, our Constitution has guaranteed Americans the right to free exercise of religion,” said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “No employer should force its employees to choose between their faith and a job, when reasonable accommodations are possible.”
The suit seeks an order prohibiting the MAT from engaging in unlawful employment discrimination on the basis of religion, in addition to monetary damages and other relief for victims of the alleged discrimination.