Article courtesy of

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against package delivery giant United Parcel Service.  

According to papers filed in federal District Court in New York, UPS violated federal law by discriminating against applicants and employees around the country whose religious practices conflicted with its uniform and appearance policy.

UPS prohibits male employees in customer contact or supervisory positions from wearing beards or growing their hair below collar length. According to EEOC’s complaint, since at least 2004, UPS has failed to hire or promote individuals whose religious practices conflict with its appearance policy and has failed to provide religious accommodations to its appearance policy at facilities throughout the United States.

The agency offered several situations in which, it is alleged, UPS violated anti-bias law:

  • A Muslim who applied for a driver helper position in Rochester, N.Y., who wears a beard as part of his religious observance, was told he had to shave to get the position. He was also told, “God would understand” if he shaved his beard to get a job and that he could apply for a lower-paying job if he wanted to keep his beard.
    Muslims and Christians at other facilities were forced to shave their beards in violation of their religious beliefs while they waited months or years for UPS to act on their requests for religious accommodation, EEOC said.
  • Similarly, a Rastafarian part-time load supervisor in Fort Lauderdale, who does not cut his hair as part of his religious beliefs, asked for an accommodation of the appearance policy. His manager told him he did not “want any employees looking like women on (his) management team.” Rastafarians in other parts of the country were denied positions or waited years for their requests for accommodation to be granted so they could finally get the position they sought, the agency claims.

According to company information, UPS is the nation’s largest package delivery company, operating in every state in the country. The Atlanta-based company employs over 300,000 people nationwide, with additional operations around the globe.

Nicole Bellow