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Bad taste: Snack-maker accused of religious discrimination

At this time of year, one of the best ways to pass an afternoon is to hunker down in front of the TV to watch a Milwaukee Brewers or Packers game, with the remote in one hand and snacks within easy reach of the other. It's not uncommon for sports fan fingers across Wisconsin to be coated with the tasty dust of Cheetos, Doritos, Tostitos and Ruffles potato chips - all Frito Lay products.

Frito Lay management is likely more focused on its legal woes than sporting events, however, after the iconic snack-food company was named in a religious discrimination lawsuitv.

The company is accused of violating federal employment law when it fired an employee who had just received a promotion from warehouse worker to route sales representative. In his suit, the man says he was fired because he could not train on Saturdays for his new position because of his religious beliefs.

After the company learned that because of his Seventh-day Adventist religious beliefs he could not train on Saturdays, he was regardless scheduled to train on those days.

Seventh-day Adventists attend church on Saturdays, which they regard as the Sabbath - a day of rest.

After the newly promoted sales representative did not report for training on two consecutive Saturdays, he was fired.

Both Wisconsin state law and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of religion.

A spokesperson for the federal government's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said, "an employer is obligated to accommodate an employee's religious beliefs, for example, by providing a schedule change, when it would cause no undue hardship.

"For an employer to only schedule the worker to work on Saturdays when it knows he cannot due to his religious beliefs violates fed­eral law."

Contact the law office of Alan C. Olson and Associates if a Milwaukee employer has subjected you to unlawful workplace discrimination.

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