Refusal to Delay Employee Start Date due to Religious Holiday was Unlawful

May 22, 2017

XPO Last Mile, Inc, violated Title VII when it refused to hire a man who could not work on Rosh Hashanah due to his religious beliefs, according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The logistics company, which specializes in delivery of items such as office furniture, home furnishings, and fitness equipment, purportedly hired the complainant for a dispatcher/customer service position at its Elkridge, Maryland, office, but later revoked its employment offer when the complainant could not start on a particular date because it fell on a religious holiday.

When the operations manager called the complainant and told him to report to work on October 3, 2016, the complainant explained that he could not start on that date because he celebrated the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, on that date, the EEOC said in a release. The operations manager allegedly replied that he thought it would be acceptable for the complainant to start on October 4. However, later that evening, the market vice president called and told the complainant that he must report to work on October 3, according to the federal agency. The market vice president purportedly told the complainant that the company only honored federal holidays, and that if he gave the complainant a religious accommodation, he would have to extend them to other employees.

The complainant did not report to work on October 3 due to his mandatory religious observance, and when he reported to work on October 4, he was sent home. The EEOC contends that XPO Last Mile violated Title VII when it revoked its offer of employment because the complainant was unable to work on Rosh Hashanah.

The EEOC is seeking back pay, reinstatement, compensatory damages and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.

"The freedom to exercise one’s religious beliefs is one of our nation’s fundamental values," said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. "[The complainant] simply asked if he could start work one day later than scheduled so he could observe Rosh Hashanah, one of the Jewish High Holy Days. A one-day postponement of a start date is not an undue hardship."