A Costco employee told management that he couldn’t do his job because of his religion. Costco said “okay” and gave him an alternative. Here’s how he responded.
Jean Camara accepted a job as a cashier’s assistant at Cosco in Sunset Park Brooklyn, New York. However, when he refused to work with pork due to his religious beliefs, he was told to go outside and gather carts instead. In response, Costco has found itself at the center of a lawsuit after the former employee sued for religious discrimination.
“Just because you have a different belief, that doesn’t give anybody the right to treat you different,” said Camara, who’s a devout Muslim and therefore refused to handle any pork products that came across the conveyor belt at the membership-only warehouse club since his religious beliefs forbid him from touching pork or alcohol, according to WCBV.
Camara told his managers about the restriction and their alleged response was to switch him to cart duty outside. Problem solved, right? Wrong. Camara claims that management never told him why he was being reassigned, and when he asked numerous times to be placed in another department, such as electronics, his requests were denied.
This led Camara to file a human rights complaint against the company. Then, Camara was fired for insubordinate conduct 16 days after filing the complaint. “We all share different beliefs, so we all should be treated equally no matter what belief we have,” Camara said. However, this is where the situation gets quite sticky.
“It’s not OK to discriminate against someone for their religion. It isn’t OK. It isn’t OK to treat them differently (than) others because of what they believe in. I think that everyone is entitled to the same treatment. I think that’s what this case is about,” said Chauncey Henry, Camara’s attorney, according to ABC7. But, both he and his client seem to be ignoring one glaring problem.
Both Camara and his attorney say that no one should be treated differently based on their beliefs. But, shouldn’t that mean that the customer who believes differently than Camara shouldn’t be treated differently by him either when they want to be checked out and have their products rung up at the register without a big to-do or refusal? In his own refusal to provide service for an Atheist or Christian who does eat pork, he is discriminating against them.
Jean Camara is admittedly treating customers with views that don’t coincide with his own differently than he would a fellow Muslim who believes as he does. What’s more, he had to have known that the big box retailer sold pork before he accepted the position. So, should he be transferred to what I’m sure is a coveted position in electronics because of his religious beliefs? How is that being treated equally?
The situation isn’t as cut and dry as some would think. So, wouldn’t the solution be to not take that job if you know you can’t do all aspects of the position for all customers equally, regardless of their religious views or lack thereof? Simply put, don’t accept a job that you know you can’t do in its entirety because of your personal beliefs and then expect to be given special treatment after the fact.