A recently filed federal class action seeks punitive damages from General Motors, alleging the auto giant refuses to allow employees to take unpaid time off for religious reasons.
Individually and on behalf of those similarly situated, James Robinson III and Chris Scruggs filed suit against GM in the U.S. District Court for Northern Texas, Fort Worth Division.
According to the complaint, Robinson began working for GM in 2000 and has throughout the years received high praises and raises for his job performance.
In 2008, Robinson began requesting accommodation for his religious beliefs, which included observing the Sabbath on Saturdays and other religious days.
At first, GM permitted Robinson to take off from work on “holy days” without pay and without having to dip into his vacation leave. However, in 2013, his requests were restricted to only taking Saturdays off, the suit states.
Scruggs, a Christian who “subscribes to many Jewish beliefs,” was also previously allowed to take time off without pay for religious observances until GM removed his accommodations in 2013.
“General Motors violated and continues to violate Title VII (of the Civil Rights Act) by denying a reasonable religious accommodation to Mr. Robinson, Mr. Scruggs, and similarly situated employees,” the suit states.
“Specifically, on certain holy days, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Scruggs, and similarly situated employees believe that they cannot perform work, and cannot receive compensation.”
Both Scruggs and Robinson allege they’ve experienced stress, humiliation, frustration, sadness, and embarrassment, and that GM’s “reckless disregard” for their rights have made them feel inferior and different because of their beliefs.
They allege GM acted with malice, entitling the class to punitive damages.
The plaintiffs also seek an injunction, compensatory damages for mental anguish and attorney’s fees.
The Law Office of Rob Wiley in Dallas represents them.
Case No. 4:15-cv-00158-Y