Sunday, May 24, 2015

'Never on Saturdays' ends Tastykake job: suit

Nathaniel Hawkins claims religious discrimination because of his Seventh-day Adventist refusal to work Saturdays

'Never on Saturdays' ends Tastykake job: suit

Nathaniel Hawkins, Palmyra, Pa., has sued Flowers Foods' Tasty Baking Co., Philadelphia, for $1.8 million, after contending he "lost a lucrative contract to deliver baked goods to Giant Foods supermarkets because he is a Seventh-day Adventist" and wouldn't deliver on Saturdays, the Adventist Sabbath, reports the Harrisburg Patriot-News here.

"Tasty Baking Co. and Giant Food Stores are denying Hawkins’ religious discrimination claim and a separate allegation that Hawkins, who is black, was also a victim of racial discrimination. They contend that Hawkins and his company, Taste N.C. Inc., simply didn’t provide service that was up to par with the terms of its contract."

Hawkins says he initially got good performance reviews. He drove early on Sundays and sometimes hired a non-Adventist helper to take care of Giant and other stores. Later the helper left, but Hawkins remained, according to his suit, "personally unable and unwilling to compromise his religious convictions." In May, Tasty fired him "on grounds of substandard service."

The case may turn on whether the court believes Tasty allowed "reasonable accommodation" for staying home Saturdays as a matter of religious faith.

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PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com, distefano251@gmail.com, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano