PHILADELPHIA – A former Walmart assistant manager claims that management at its Wyncote store subjected him to discrimination and harassment by refusing to accommodate his religious beliefs, despite knowing he was a Jehovah’s Witness prior to his hire.
Lamontt Pressley filed a lawsuit on Nov. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Wal-Mart Stores East LP, citing violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
According to the complaint, Pressley was hired in October 2010. As a part of his religious beliefs, he is required to attend meeting twice per week, at 12:30 p.m. on Sundays and 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Pressley claims in the lawsuit that a store manager said: "You don’t have to go to those meetings. You can be spiritual here," and "Why do you always have to knock on people’s door at 5 a.m." Pressley said he complained to his supervisors, but despite his complaints the working environment became more hostile. He claims a store manager gave him an ultimatum to either stop attending his meetings or be fired.
His manager, according to the lawsuit, informed Pressley during a meeting on Feb. 12, 2014, that Wal-Mart would no longer accommodate his religious requirement of attending his weekly meetings and he was terminated the same day.
On Aug. 7, 2014, Pressley filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. On Aug. 26, the EEOC issued Pressley a notice of right to sue.
Pressley is seeking equitable relief, punitive damages and other relief. He is represented by Christopher A. Macey Jr. of Bell & Bell LLP of Philadelphia.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case number 2:15-cv-06282-GAM