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United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
October 8, 1997, Argued, Submitted, San Francisco, California ; March 18, 1998, Filed
Nos. 96-16723, 96-16955
WIGGINS, Circuit Judge:
Mary Tiano sued her employer Dillard Department Stores ("Dillard's") for unlawful termination in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., for failure to make reasonable accommodation of her religious beliefs. Dillard's terminated Tiano, a Dillard's salesperson, after she departed on a ten-day "pilgrimage" to Medjugorje, Yugoslavia.
The district court found in favor of Tiano, holding that (1) Tiano established a prima facie case of religious discrimination, (2) Dillard's failed to demonstrate [**2] that it had made a reasonable effort to accommodate Tiano's religious beliefs, and (3) such reasonable accommodation would not have resulted in undue hardship to Dillard's. The court awarded Tiano $ 16,445.65 in lost wages. Dillard's appealed the finding of religious discrimination, and Tiano cross-appealed the damage award. This court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we reverse the finding of religious discrimination under Title VII.
Plaintiff-Appellee Mary Tiano was employed at Dillard's in the Park Central Mall in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1988. She worked in the women's shoe department as a salesperson. Dillard's considered her a productive employee, a "pacesetter," because her sales exceeded $ 200,000 per year. Tiano is a devout Roman Catholic who regularly attends church. She testified in court that her religion plays a significant role in her life.
In 1988, Dillard's had an authorized absence policy of granting unpaid leave at management's discretion. It also had a vacation policy which prohibited employees from taking leave between October and December, the store's busy holiday season.
In late August of 1988, Tiano learned of a pilgrimage to [**3] Medjugorje, Yugoslavia taking place between October 17 and October 26. Several people have claimed that visions of the Virgin Mary appeared to them in Medjugorje, although the Catholic Church has not designated Medjugorje an official pilgrimage site of the Church. Tiano testified that on August 22, 1988, she had a "calling from God" to attend this pilgrimage. The only evidence she offered at trial suggesting that her calling mandated her attendance on the specific dates listed above was the following testimony: "I felt I was called to go. . . . I felt that from deep in my heart that I was called. I had to be there at that time. I had to go." When asked if she could have gone at another time, Tiano responded, "No."
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
139 F.3d 679 *; 1998 U.S. App. LEXIS 5017 **; 76 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 561; 72 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P45,204; 98 Cal. Daily Op. Service 1916; 98 Daily Journal DAR 2699
MARY TIANO, a married woman, Plaintiff-Appellee-Cross Appellant, v. DILLARD DEPARTMENT STORES, INC., a Delaware corporation, Defendant-Appellant-Cross Appellee.
Prior History: [**1] Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. D.C. No. CV-93-01240-RGS. Roger G. Strand, District Judge, Presiding.
Disposition: District court's finding of Title VII liability reversed. Tiano's cross-appeal of the damage award dismissed.
pilgrimage, religious belief, religious discrimination, prima facie case, bona fide, accommodate, district court, temporal, religious, trip, attend, undue hardship, Church
Business & Corporate Compliance, Discrimination, Religious Discrimination, Enforcement, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, Clearly Erroneous Review, General Overview, De Novo Review, Labor & Employment Law, Accommodation, Labor & Employment Law, Discriminatory Employment Practices, Discharges, Discipline & Transfers, Burdens of Proof, Burden Shifting, Employee Burdens, Scope & Definitions, Covered Employees & Employers, Religion Defined, Defenses, Reasonable Accommodation & Undue Hardship, Title VII Discrimination, Federal & State Interrelationships