DETROIT (Reuters) -- Two General Motors workers at its Arlington, Texas, assembly plant have sued the company and are seeking class-action status, claiming the company violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by denying them unpaid religious days off.
The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Forth Worth, Texas, charged the company with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act "by denying a reasonable religious accommodation" to James Robinson III, a Seventh-day Sabbatarian, and Chris Scruggs, a Messianic Jew, who had previously taken off religious holidays without pay.
Robinson and Scruggs are seeking class-action status for the lawsuit, an injunction allowing them and similar employees to take unpaid leave on holy days in accordance with their religious beliefs, unspecified lost wages, and punitive and compensatory damages, and legal fees, according to the lawsuit.
GM spokesman Patrick Morrissey said it was premature for the company to comment because it had not formally been served with the lawsuit.
The two men, both electricians at the plant, said they had taken off holy days according to their religious beliefs without pay for several years, but that allowance ceased in 2013, according to the lawsuit.
GM failed to see if volunteers were available to cover the men's shifts and the cost of allowing them to take unpaid leave was minimal, according to the lawsuit. Both men experienced "stress, humiliation, frustration, sadness and embarrassment" and were made to "feel inferior and different because of their beliefs," according to the lawsuit.