Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Walmart Stores East, L.P., No. 20-1419 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Hayward Walmart store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is especially busy on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer. Walmart offered Hedican a job as one of eight full-time assistant managers. Hedican then revealed that, as a Seventh-day Adventist, he cannot work between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday. The store’s manager believes that each assistant manager should have experience with all available schedules and all of the store’s departments. The human resources department concluded that accommodating Hedican would leave the store short-handed at some times, or would require hiring a ninth assistant manager, or would compel the other seven assistant managers to cover extra weekend shifts despite their preference to have weekends off. Hedican was told he could apply for an hourly management position, which would not be subject to the rotation schedule. Hedican filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, under Title VII, which forbids employment discrimination on account of religion, 42 U.S.C. 2000e–2(a)(1).
The district court granted Walmart summary judgment, finding that an hourly management job would have been a reasonable accommodation, even though the pay of that position is lower. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Title VII does not place the burden of accommodation on fellow workers, so accommodating Hedican’s religious practices would require Walmart to bear more than a slight burden if he became an assistant manager.