March 18th, 2011
11:39 AM ET

Woman who says she was forced to wear Santa hat gets $55,000

From CNN Raleigh, North Carolina affiliate WRAL:

Belk Inc. has agreed to settle a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit that alleged the chain's Crabtree Valley Mall department store fired a woman because of her religious beliefs.

The lawsuit alleges that Myra Jones-Abid was working as a gift wrapper at Belk's in November 2008 when store managers ordered her to wear a Santa hat and Christmas-themed apron during the holiday season.

Jones-Abid is a Jehovah's Witness, and her religious practices prohibit her from celebrating holidays like Christmas, according to the lawsuit.

Read the full story about the lawsuit at WRAL.com

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Money & Faith • North Carolina • United States

soundoff (224 Responses)
  1. maria

    why is she wrapping Christmas gifts???????

    April 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  2. Ethan

    😀 and this is why companies out source most of their labor. Because if you can't hire someone to gift wrap without getting sued, how the hell are you gonna survive with thousands of people in factories?

    This girl isn't offended, she just wants money. Like any modern American money is all that matters and pretending to get offended...well that's actually mild compared to what most of us would do.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  3. afasfsasdee

    Fck her. Little btch. If she didn't like it she could have gotten another job. If you're going to wrap gifts, and everyone has to wear a costume, just wear the thing or go work somewhere else. Too many whiners in this country that think they have it so bad.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:28 am |
  4. mystereo

    Execute her and give that $55,000 to a charity that's against Jehovah's Witness.

    April 10, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  5. Mike

    Why was she wrapping presents? Sounds like a planned set up.

    April 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
  6. JP78

    What happened to people "sucking it up", or "taking one for the team". Seems like alot of people nowadays have to be handled with kiddy gloves or they'll sue.

    April 8, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  7. cAT

    It's so sad to sue because of religion. My supervisor was a Jehovah's Witness. She never asked for favors. She politely declined any Christmas clothing or decorations. It amazes me that people are "lawsuit hungry".

    April 7, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
  8. R U Kidding?

    She is an idiot. I respect her religious beliefs but wearing a Santa hat and an apron (whatever is on it) is not "celebrating" Christmas. If they forced her to go to a Mass or convert I could see it but this is just a pig headed woman. I am not Jewish but I will say to my Jewish friends "Happy Hanuka" and they will reply "Merry Christmas." Are we forcing each other to "celebrate" our holidays? Plain and simple, no. It is just polite to accept other peoples beliefs and acknowledge them. She clearly is unable to accept anything but her own.

    April 7, 2011 at 7:38 am |
  9. outawork

    Only $50,000!!! What's this country coming to? Shouldn't she deserve at least a $1,000,000.

    April 6, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  10. Chili Dogg

    In a FREE country, a court would not be deciding the employment decisions for a company who fired someone who would not carry out the work duties (duties that do not include force, theft, or fraud).

    In a FREE country, the employer, who owns the job, and the employee would both agree voluntarily to the terms of the job – or they wouldn't, and the employer and the job seeker would look elsewhere. The bottom line is that it is voluntary. A court decision in this case means that the transaction is no longer voluntary – one side is being forced by the state to accept the terms from the other side, with no freedom to decide voluntarily whether they want to accept those terms. The result of not allowing to people to act voluntarily is less freedom and decreased "utility".

    This result is abhorrent to liberty. Can you imagine the Founding Fathers comtemplating a court telling an employer that he or she had to accept someone who did not want to perform their work duties? I don't see it, either.

    Imagine the workplace now. The other workers see the government-favored person not wearing the apron and Santa hat, and what if they don't want to wear it, either? But suppose they don't have a government-favored reason not to wear it; they just don't like it? They can't get a court to rule in their favor for that reason, so the government ends up favoring some people over others. This creates resentment and tension. As Orwell wrote, some animals are more equal than others.

    What should have happened? The employee should have tried to persuade the employer to compromise, or if they didn't and the employee did not like it, they should have quit and looked for another job.

    April 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  11. Andrew

    Why do people still have religion?

    April 5, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  12. tim

    Rulings like this are part of what is destroying America. There is so much dissention about the most benign things, that we are unraveling the basic structure of society. Personal responsibility has gone out the window, to the extent that the only people held accountable for anything are the ones who have to pay for everyone else's self made problems! Its getting worse every day. Now the store has to raise prices to pay the $55K or else fire other employees. Expect the fall of the Empire in your lifetimes folks.

    April 5, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • Ethan

      Yup, my once proud country will be toppled in around twenty years, non-existent in another forty. I've seen our future generations in my school...

      We are screwed.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  13. tim

    This is beyond common sense and absurd. Soon, people will be suing the mall that has a Santa, because it represents a holy war against their faith, and they should not be subjected to hateful symbols. Get some common sense America!

    April 5, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  14. dumb broad

    uhhh then dont work at a CHRISTMAS GIFT WRAPPING desk, also stop coming by my house preaching your nonsense

    April 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  15. Prof ANON

    As a former JW, this woman was walking on the edge of what is considered "upstanding" behavior by even taking this job. This organization has a ton of rules-that-aren't-really-rules-and are supposedly concience matters-but if you do them-you get socially punished. For example, just ask a JW if they would be a janitor in a courthouse or in a legislative building (they are supposedly politically neutral–but that is another discussion), and then ask them if they would be a janitor at a military base. I wouldn't be suprised if there is a considerable amount of disagreement among current JWs as to whether or not this woman should have been doing this job in the first place.

    April 5, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  16. chaos

    Studies have shown that Jehovah's Witnesses have the lowest IQ, on average, of any organized religion. NO JOKE - look it up.

    April 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Prof ANON

      If you are refering to the "work" by Jerry Bergman, it is not credible. It appears in a "Christian" journal that is not contained in the social science citation index. It's easy enough to find the inconsistencies and legitimate problems with this religioin without relying on half-truths by people with agendas.

      April 5, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Ethan

      A bit off topic, but I'm sure the religion that teaches you to kill yourself for virgins is the most retarded.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  17. Apeasant

    There was a much better way for the store to handle this issue; they could have excused her from work that day, or put her in another department, but firing her on the spot for not wearing a christmas costume is rediculous.

    And to the people complaining about how this is why nobody will hire in America, we respect religious differences in this country. If you don't like it, don't look to sell your products here, plain and simple.

    April 4, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  18. taxpayer8

    Ridiculous. That's all I can say.

    April 2, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  19. jimbo

    ...wow what a religion....you can not wear a santa hat but you can sue your employer. Money...it's always about the money......the real god of this world.

    April 2, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Ethan

      Logic doesn't matter! Stop thinking, this is modern America, seriously. All the degenerates who see you are right might try and kill you for destroying their fragile reality.

      All sarcasm aside, well said brother.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  20. Mark

    only in America...

    April 1, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Ethan

      American Exceptionalism has become rather...negative now.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.