Adeyeye v. Heartland Sweeteners, LLC

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Employment Discrimination
Case Number: 
No. 12-3820
Decision Date: 
July 31, 2013
Federal District: 
S.D. Ind., Indianapolis Div.
Reversed and remanded
Dist. Ct. erred in granting defendant-employer’s motion for summary judgment in plaintiff-employee’s Title VII action alleging that defendant failed to accommodate his religion, when it terminated him after refusing his request to travel to Africa to participate in month-long burial ceremony for his deceased father. While defendant argued that plaintiff failed to give it adequate notice of religious nature of his request for unpaid leave, plaintiff’s reference to his father’s “funeral ceremony,” “funeral rite,” and animal sacrifices was sufficient to convey religious nature of his request. Moreover, plaintiff presented evidence establishing sincerity of his religious beliefs where he gave defendant detailed description of said ceremonies and religious consequences for any failure to participate in said ceremonies. Also, defendant could have easily accommodated plaintiff’s request without disruption in workforce where defendant had ability to bring in extra temporary workers to cover plaintiff’s job.