Christian Woman Fired from Burger King for Wearing Skirt Instead of Pants

A Grand Prairie, Texas, Burger King is being sued for religious discrimination after a Christian teen wasn't allowed …A Texas teenager is suing Burger King for religious discrimination, saying that the fast food giant fired her, a conservative Christian, for wearing a long skirt, rather than uniform pants, to work.

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Ashanti McShan was a 17-year-old high school senior when she applied for a job as a cashier at the Grand Prairie Burger King in August 2010, according to the lawsuit filed on her behalf this week by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. During her interview McShan, who is a Pentacostal Christian, said that her religious beliefs forbid women to wear men's clothing, so she would need to be able to wear a long back skirt rather than the standard-issue uniform pants. The Burger King employee interviewing her "assured her that she could wear a skirt to work," the lawsuit says.

But when she arrived for orientation, another store management told her that she could not wear a skirt "and that she had to leave the store," in spite of her explaining that there was a religious issue at stake, according to the lawsuit.

"The result of the foregoing practices has been to deprive Ashanti McShan of equal employment opportunities because of her religious beliefs and observances as a Christian Pentecostal," the lawsuit states. The incident could be a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars religious discrimination in the workplace.

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"I've seen cases where an employer has denied a religion accommodation, and its something where you could see how it could cause a problem," Equal Employment Opportunity Commission trial attorney Meaghan Shepard, who is representing McShan, told The Dallas Morning News. "The legal standard is 'undue hardship,' and in this instance it was a very simple request -- to be able to wear a long black skirt and not black pants -- and it was initially granted. And then she shows up at orientation, on time, and is then told by the manager to leave and that she couldn't wear a skirt. She was responsible, tried to get in touch with someone higher in the franchise, and they never responded to her. In our eyes, it was so clear-cut. She's a very sweet, articulate young lady who was just trying to work her senior year in high school."

The lawsuit seeks "appropriate back pay with prejudgement interest" for McShan, even though she was asked to leave the store before she started her first shift, as well as punitive damages and an injunction.

"Accommodating Ms. McShan's religious beliefs would have been simple and cost the company nothing," Shepard said in a statement. "Management's failure to comply with federal law deprived this teenage girl of the opportunity to work during her senior year of high school."

Pentacostal Christians believe in a strict, literal interpretation of the Bible. Deuteronomy 22:5 specifically states: "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God."

"We haven't come far enough in our respect of religious liberties at the workplace if we have employers saying that uniform policies trump a religious observance without articulation of any hardship posed by letting an employee 'hold the pickles' and 'hold the lettuce' while wearing a skirt," EEOC regional attorney Robert A. Canino said in a statement.

The franchisee that owns the Great Prairie Burger King, Fries Restaurant Management LLC, also owns about 10 other Burger King restaurants in Texas; they would not comment to Yahoo! Shine. "As a normal couse of business, Burger King Corp. does not comment on personnel or legal matters related to its franchisees, who independently own and operate Burger King restaurants," Burger King Corp. told The Huffington Post in a statement.



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