(July 18, 2019 / JNS) The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission served up a lawsuit in Orlando federal court on Tuesday against the owner of several McDonald’s franchises in Florida, alleging a refusal to hire a Chassidic Jewish man due to his beard.
Torah-observant men do not shave their beards, as it states in Leviticus, “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.”
“Chalfont & Associates, run by longtime McDonald’s franchisee Frank Chalfont, owns several McDonald’s in Florida. Morteza Javadi wanted to work as a maintenance worker at the Chalfont-owned 900 W. State Road McDonald’s in Longwood and applied online,” reported The Miami Herald.
“When the store manager interviewed Javadi in person, according to the lawsuit, he said Javadi’s beard would have to come off to comply with the grooming policy. The men’s grooming policy quoted in the lawsuit says ‘that says all employees must be completely clean-shaven.’ ”
Javadi offered to wear a net over his beard, which he said he could not shave for religious reasons—an offer the manager rejected, citing company policies and the law.
The EEOC suit labeled this an “unlawful employment practice.” In fact, it is seeking back wages for the past three years that he would have been employed.
According to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, “Bar tenders and servers who only dispense beverages, scoop ice and deliver plated food are not required to wear a hair restraint as long as their hair does not cause cross-contamination.”
Chalfont & Associates did not respond to the Herald’s requests for comment.