CONWAY, Ark. — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed suit against The Kroger Company for violating federal civil rights law in that an Arkansas location allegedly fired two employees who sought religious accommodations not to wear an apron with a rainbow heart on the bib, symbolizing homosexual and bisexual pride.
“Although [Lawson and Rickerd] personally hold no animosity toward the individuals who comprise the LGBTQ community, the practices of that community violate [their] sincerely held religious belief,” the lawsuit states, according to the Miami Herald. “[Lawson and Rickerd] believed wearing the logo showed [their] advocacy of the community, which [they] could not do.”
According to reports, Brenda Lawson, then age 72, asked if she could wear her name tag over the heart instead. Co-worker Trudy Rickerd, then 57, submitted a letter requesting the allowance to wear a different apron and advised that she was willing to pay for it herself.
Both were fired from the Conway grocery store in June 2019 for violations of the store dress code.
Kroger, which is reportedly the most financially successful grocery chain, has a page on its website outlining that the company “proudly support[s] our LGBTQ+ friends and family.”
“We’re one of just a few retailers willing to openly advocate for and make real change toward LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion, and we’re proud to offer same-sex partner benefits and transgender-inclusive health care, an Associate Resource Group that provides an uplifting community for LGBTQ+ associates and allies, [and] strong alliances with LGBTQ+ suppliers through our partnership with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce,” it reads.
The company also provides a video of its participation in the Cincinnati Pride parade, where it had a unicorn float and offered unicorn ice cream.
The EEOC contends that Kroger’s actions against
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