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Jehovah's Witness Claims Religious Discrimination

Tyler Templeton, a product technician at the Bridgeport branch of Aaron's Rents, claimed that he was fired for refusing to wear a red shirt on the company's "Red Shirt Friday." The Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that the red shirt dress code was supposed to show support for the U.S. military.

Why did Mr. Templeton refuse to wear a red shirt? The man claimed that doing so was against his religion as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. According to the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs include not expressing opinions about government matters, including military affairs. The company, which is owned by Alliance Rental Centers, claimed that Mr. Templeton had worn the red shirt on other occasions.

But with the help of Texas employment lawyers from EEOC, Mr. Templeton was able to settle the religious discrimination lawsuit for $21,500. In addition to paying the former employee settlement money, the company has also agreed to update its employee handbook to include a new procedure and statement of the company's obligation to accommodate employees' religious beliefs.

In a statement by Alliance Rental Centers, the company said that they settled the suit to avoid the cost of litigation. Through the agreement, the company sill does not admit that it violated the law.

EEOC attorney Meaghan Shepard told Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "This is a positive outcome for all parties involved, and it is our hope that the company will be successful going forward as a result of the changes called for in this settlement agreement."

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