It’s a problem many organizations face. One member of management does or says one thing, while another does or says the opposite. This kind of communication break-down, innocent though it may be, can have legal consequences. Take the EEOC’s recent press release that it is suing the grocery chain Food Lion for religious discrimination. According to the EEOC, a Jehovah’s Witness employee asked for and received a scedhule modification to attend religious services. But when he was assigned to another store location with a different manager, the new manager refused to accommodate the schedule change. And when the employee missed work to attend a religious service, he was fired. Enter the EEOC.
What can an employer do to avoid situations like this one? First, train all supervisors. Then, make sure supervisors know that if an employee had a previous accommodation, inquire into the circumstances before nixing it. If supervisor B had simply picked up the phone to call supervisor A, she would have realized that the schedule change was for a good reason – accommodating a religious belief.