Hotel dishwasher awarded $21 million after boss made her work Sunday shifts

February 20, 2020 Stories

Most people don’t want to be forced to come into the office on the weekend. On top of that, it is against the religion of many people to be present at work on Sunday. However, this happened to Marie Jean Pierre, a former dishwasher at the Conrad Miami Hotel, when her boss told her she had to work Sunday shifts even though she had clearly stated her religious beliefs beforehand.

The hotel she worked at attempted to schedule her for work on Sunday, but she refused to show up for work. Pierre, who is now 60 years old, had worked at the hotel for over 10 years and her personnel records clearly stated that she had the right to take Sunday off to honor her religious beliefs. Not only was she attending the church on that day but she was also a vivid member of the Catholic missionary group called “The Soldiers of Christ Church”.

So when her kitchen manager gave her several shifts on Sundays in 2015, she refused to take them. After missing six scheduled shifts, she was fired by the hotel. However, she made the decision to fight back and wound up suing the hotel’s parent company. Her lawsuit was successful and the jury ordered the hotel “Conrad Miami” to pay Marie Jean Pierre $36,000 in lost wages, $500,000 for emotional anguish, and $21 million in punitive damages.

Pierre`s religious beliefs were protected under the 1964 Civil Rights Act according to her lawyer and thus, the hotel had to make reasonable accommodations to respect them. They celebrate Pierre’s case as a victory not just for her but for workers nationwide.

What are your thoughts on this story? Do you think, Pierre was exactly right and that she is a strong woman who fought against being religious discrimination? Or do you think, an employee should obey the rules of the workplace even if it interferes with their religious beliefs? We would love to know your opinion in the comments.