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New York engineering company fined for religious discrimination

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced it has settled a lawsuit with a leading engineering company that agreed to pay the agency $110,000.

Harry Davis, a Jehovah's Witness and employee for the Dresser Rand engineering company, was opposed to working on military weapons and refused to do work on a submarine. Davis made a request to be switched to another project, but the company denied it and eventually fired him.

Since the company discriminated against Davis on a religious basis, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against the company claiming its actions violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which may have resulted in an employment practices insurance claim.

"Title VII is clear: an employer has a duty to reasonably accommodate its employee's religious beliefs as long as the accommodation is not an undue hardship," said Elizabeth Grossman, regional attorney for the New York district office of EEOC. "Allowing an employee to switch assignments can be a reasonable accommodation, and Dresser Rand could have avoided this problem if it had done so."

The company now offers anti-discrimination training at its facility.

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