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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. United Parcel Service

September 2, 2008

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, INC., RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Skretny United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

This case involves a dispute between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and United Parcel Service, Inc. ("UPS") over the enforcement of an administrative subpoena.*fn1 The issue presently before the Court is whether the EEOC subpoena is relevant to the charges under investigation. For the following reasons, the EEOC's Application to enforce the subpoena is denied.

II. BACKGROUND

This case involves two separate charges of religious discrimination against UPS. In the first charge, Mr. Bilal Abdullah claimed that when he applied for a job with UPS in Henrietta, NY as a seasonal helper and sorter, he was told by the interviewer that he would be required to shave his beard. (Abdullah Charge, Docket No. 2-4, p. 2). At an orientation session, Mr. Abdullah explained that he could not shave his beard because of his Muslim religious beliefs. (Abdullah Charge, Docket No. 2-4, p. 2). Mr. Adbullah alleges that he was then logged out of the UPS computer system, and was not hired by UPS because of his religious beliefs. (Abdullah Charge, Docket No. 2-4, p. 2).

Mr. Muhammad Farhan, a UPS employee in Dallas, Texas, filed a separate charge of discrimination stating that he was demoted from a full-time position to a part-time position because he wore a beard. (Farhan Charge, Docket No. 2-5, p. 2). Mr. Farhan requested an accommodation and notified UPS that wearing a beard was a Muslim religious practice. (Farhan Charge, Docket No. 2-5, p. 2). Mr. Abdullah alleges that UPS refused to accommodate his religious beliefs and discriminated against him because of his religion. (Farhan Charge, Docket No. 2-5, p. 2).

As part of the investigation into these allegations, the EEOC issued an administrative subpoena requesting that UPS produce the following information:

1. Identify all persons nationwide who applied for employment with Respondent UPS from January 1, 2004, and were coded as "Refusal to meet appearance standards after request and explanation."

2. Produce all documents relating to, and including, the applications of those persons identified above.

3. Produce all "Request for Religious Accommodation" forms submitted by any Respondent employee since January 1, 2004, seeking an accommodation regarding Respondent's appearance guidelines, and all documents relating to those forms, such as, but not limited to, any documents responding to, granting, or denying such requests.

4. Identify all persons nationwide who applied for employment with Respondent UPS from January 1, 2004, and were coded as applying for a position and were given an "inside position" due to the UPS Uniform and Personal Appearance Guidelines.*fn2

5. Identify all employees nationwide from January 1, 2004, to the present, who at any time during their employment filed a grievance regarding discipline, termination, changed job position, or promotion due to the UPS Uniform and Personal Appearance Guidelines. For each individual, please note which job action (discipline, termination, changed job position, or promotion) occurred due to the UPS Uniform and Personal Appearance Guidelines.

(EEOC Mem., Docket No. 2, p. 2). UPS objects to these requests partly on the grounds that the information sought is not relevant to the individual charges. (UPS Mem., Docket No. 9, pp. 15-26). The EEOC initiated this action by filing an ...


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