Rastafari Cook Ordered to Cut Dreadlocks, U.S. Sues for Discrimination
JULY 15, 2016
The Obama administration is spending taxpayer dollars to sue a private business for not allowing a male employee to have long, matted and knotted hair required to practice an “Afrocentric” religion in which followers also smoke marijuana (“the spiritual use of cannabis”). Known as Rastafari, it was born in the slums of Jamaica and followers must have dreadlocks, long clumps of ungroomed hair, symbolizing the mane of the Lion of Judah.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces the nation’s workplace discrimination laws, is suing on behalf of a Rastafari prep cook in an Orlando, Florida Walt Disney resort who was ordered to cut his dreadlocks because it didn’t comply with the company’s appearance standards. Disney isn’t the defendant, but rather the Orlando staffing company, Hospitality Staff, that provides workers for central Florida’s huge hospitality industry. When Disney complained about the employee’s hair, Hospitality Staff management told the prep cook (Courtney Joseph) to cut his hair if he wanted to return to work, even though Joseph explained that he couldn’t because he was a practicing Rastafarian and his dreadlocks were part of his religious beliefs.
Hospitality Staff violated federal law by firing Joseph over his Rastafarian religious practices, the EEOC charges in a lawsuit filed this week. “Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits religious discrimination and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs so long as this does not pose an undue hardship to the business,” according to an agency announcement. The EEOC is asking a federal court to grant a permanent injunction enjoining Hospitality Staff from further engaging in any employment practice that discriminates against workers because of their religious beliefs and requiring the company to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs of employees in the future. The suit also asks the court to order Hospitality Staff to reinstate Joseph, grant back pay, provide compensatory and punitive damages and award any other relief the court deems necessary and proper.
There is no formal, organized leadership in Rastafarianism which makes it difficult to accept as an official religion protected by federal law. Rastafarians believe Haile Selassie, the former emperor of Ethiopia, is God and that he’ll help blacks living in exile as a result of the slave trade return to Africa. Jamaican reggae singer Bob Marley, who died in Miami in 1981, was among the best known Rastafarians and more recently a famous rapper known as Snoop Dogg became Rastafari and changed his name to Snoop Lion, according to a mainstream news report. “A key belief for Rastas is the notion of death to all white and black oppressors,” the story says, adding that “the most common outward expressions of Rastafari are Rastas’ dreadlocks, penchant for smoking marijuana and vegetarian diets.”
Under Obama the EEOC has spiraled out of control to meet the administration’s mission of operating a politically correct government. In fact, nearly half of federal agency rulings dismissing employee discrimination claims have been overturned under Obama, costing American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars in settlements. In one year alone this translated into an astounding $51.4 billion that federal agencies paid to settle discrimination claims that often had no merit, according to the government’s figures. In nearly 45% of discrimination claims thrown out by agencies across the U.S. government the EEOC stepped in and revived the cases. The number has increased steadily since Obama became president, according to the EEOC’s figures.
The agency has also taken legal action against private businesses across the nation accusing them of everything from discriminating against minorities for running criminal background and credit checks to discriminating against Muslims for not allowing hijabs on the job. A few years ago the EEOC even went after a Green Bay Wisconsin metal and plastic manufacturer for requiring employees to speak English at work. In that case the EEOC asserted that the Civil Rights Act protects employees from discrimination based on national origin, which includes the linguistic characteristics of a national origin group. Therefore, according to this absurd reasoning, foreigners have the right to speak their native language even during work hours at an American company that requires English.
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