WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced a settlement agreement with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the United Transportation Union, resolving a lawsuit that alleged employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Department of Justice’s complaint, which was filed in September 2004, alleged that the MTA engaged in unlawful employment practices by refusing to consider any accommodations for bus operators who, for religious reasons, are precluded from complying with the MTA’s requirement that bus operators be available to work weekends, on any shift, at any location. The complaint also alleged that the MTA discriminated against Henry Asher, a member of the Jewish faith, by refusing to consider accommodating Mr. Asher’s religious practice of observing the Sabbath from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, which was approved and entered by the United States District Court for the Central District of California, the MTA will adopt policies and procedures to ensure that employees and applicants for employment as bus operators are not subjected to discrimination on the basis of religion. The settlement agreement specifies accommodations that are to be made available to bus operators and applicants for bus operator positions who, because of religious obligations, are precluded from complying with the MTA’s availability requirements. The settlement also provides monetary relief to Mr. Asher.
“Public employees should not have to choose between their religious beliefs and their livelihood,” said Bradley J. Schlozman, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “While public employers have the authority to set reasonable standards for work schedules, they cannot reflexively refuse to consider an accommodation at the cost of civil rights. We are pleased with the outcome of this matter.”
The continued enforcement of Title VII has been a priority of the Justice
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