According to NBC News, a Catholic hotel dishwasher in Miami was awarded $21.5 million after a jury ruled that her employer ‘violated her religious rights’ by repeatedly scheduling her to work on Sundays, and eventually firing her.
So… How ’bout that war on Christianity, eh?
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Marie Jean Pierre, who worked as a dishwasher at the Conrad Miami, sued Virginia-based Park Hotels & Resorts, formerly known as Hilton Worldwide, in 2017 for violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The landmark law bans employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
The award was filed on Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in Miami. The jury also found she was due $35,000 in back wages and $500,000 for emotional pain and mental anguish.
Pierre, 60, is a mother of six and a member of the Soldiers of Christ Church, a Catholic missionary group that helps the poor, her attorney said.
Her attorney also told NBC that he “asked for $50 million, knowing that I was capped at $300,000″ and that he “didn’t do this for money. I did this to right the wrongs.”
According to the report, in 2009 she was asked to work on a Sunday, and threatened to quit if scheduled on Sundays. The hotel acquiesced, but in 2015 “demanded” that she work on Sundays. She was fired in 2016 for alleged misconduct, negligence and “unexcused absences,” according to the lawsuit.
The war on Christianity rages
She claimed in court that she told her employer when she was hired that she would be unable to work on Sundays due to her religious beliefs, then her employer allegedly forced her to work on Sundays.
I begrudgingly have to admit that I think the hotel was in the wrong here.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s a ridiculous situation. But, she told her employer from the beginning that she couldn’t work on Sundays and they hired her anyway under that stipulation. While it doesn’t sound like there was a written contract, the terms she agreed to when she was hired included not working on Sundays. It’s no different than saying you can’t work on Sundays for any other reason.
Pay her what she’s owed for lost wages, sure. But half a million dollars for “emotional pain and mental anguish” seems excessively ridiculous.
How serious would they have taken it if her rationale was the Flying Spaghetti Monster demands she stay home on Sunday? We’ll probably never know.