The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit in September alleging that a Pensacola Furniture store violated a manager’s rights by firing her for her refusal to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination.
In a 10-page complaint filed in the Northern District of Florida, the EEOC claims that Hank’s Furniture Inc. (HFI) violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 when the organization “engaged in unlawful employment practices” regarding an assistant manager’s religious beliefs and their mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies.
“In conjunction with the implementation of these policies, HFI announced it wanted all managers to immediately obtain the COVID-19 vaccine and asked (the manager) about her vaccination status,” the lawsuit says.
The employee, identified only as “K.M.O.” in the lawsuit, claims she sought an exemption from the policy citing her “sincerely held Christian beliefs” but was subsequently denied and fired.
HFI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Here is a timeline of events the lawsuit alleges occurred between the former assistant manager and HFI.
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July 21, 2021
Arkansas-based Hank’s Furniture Inc. is a retail seller of home furniture with stores in four states.
On July 21, 2021, HFI informed K.M.O. that it planned to implement policies to encourage employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
After the announcement of the policies, K.M.O. told the company she did not plan to take the vaccine.
Aug. 6, 2021
Roughly two weeks after implementing the policy, K.M.O. told HFI that she has “sincerely held religious beliefs” that would not allow her to take the vaccine. She then requested a religious exemption.
Aug. 19, 2021
HFI allegedly contacted K.M.O. and asked if she would comply