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Kroger reaches $180K settlement in religious discrimination case over company uniform

The supermarket chain Kroger reached a $180,000 settlement in a religious discrimination lawsuit over its uniform, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced Thursday.

The EEOC sued Kroger in 2020 on behalf of two former employees, who were ultimately fired for refusing to wear a uniform with a logo that they believed resembled a Pride flag. The two employees — Brenda Lawson and Trudy Rickerd — said that wearing the uniform would violate their religious beliefs.

Lawson and Rickerd were working at a Kroger store in Conway, Ark., in April 2019 when the store adopted a new apron as part of its uniform. The apron featured a multi-colored heart that several employees believed was a symbol of support for the LGBT community.

Rickerd refused to wear the apron, and Lawson wore the new uniform but covered the symbol with her nametag. Both were written up for dress code violations.

In response, the two employees requested religious accommodation from Kroger. However, Kroger determined that “there was nothing to accommodate” since the symbol was not meant to represent support for the LGBT community.

Lawson and Rickerd continued to refuse to wear the uniforms and were eventually fired.

As part of Thursday’s settlement in the case, Kroger agreed to pay $180,000, create a religious accommodation policy and provide enhanced training to store management on religious discrimination.

Tags Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Kroger LGBTQ Religion religious discrimination
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