Fairmont pays $23,750 to settle lawsuit - East Valley Tribune: Business

Fairmont pays $23,750 to settle lawsuit

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Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2005 6:46 am | Updated: 8:11 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort agreed to pay a former employee $23,750 to settle a religious discrimination and retaliation lawsuit.

The Phoenix office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that Amy Ferrin, an eight-year Fairmont employee, was fired 12 days after complaining about being required to work Sundays.

The Fairmont, which claimed Ferrin was fired because of her performance, settled the suit "for economic reasons," said Jennifer Franklin, resort spokeswoman.

The EEOC suit alleged that Ferrin, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had been allowed to duck Sunday duty in previous years, but a newly hired manager would not agree to continue the exemption.

The EEOC further alleged that Ferrin was fired despite favorable reviews of her work.

"We have seen an increase in allegations of religious discrimination in the workplace," Chester Bailey, district director of the EEOC’s Phoenix office, said in a statement.

"Applicants and employees should not have to choose between observing their religious beliefs and working. Title VII requires an employer to accommodate the religious beliefs of an employee unless to do so would result in an undue hardship. Here, the employer had accommodated the religious beliefs of Ms. Ferrin for eight years without any apparent hardship."

As part of the Consent Decree settling the suit, the Fairmont agreed to pay Ferrin $10,000 in back pay and $13,750, "to compensate her for emotional distress," the EEOC said.

The hotel also agreed to train employees in laws aimed at preventing religious discrimination or retaliation, the EEOC said.

The Fairmont denies Ferrin was fired because of her request to be exempt from Sunday hours.

"We are very proud that we have a culture that embraces cultural diversity, religious diversity and any other form of diversity among our colleagues and guests," Franklin said.

"We are disappointed the allegation was made. (Ferrin) was terminated because she didn’t meet performance standards for our fivediamond service."

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