Friday, May 23, 2014

'Vegetarian' beans contained lard, Sea-Tac airport workers claim in revived lawsuit

The Washington Supreme Court has resuscitated a lawsuit filed by food-prep workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport who said they were forced to eat meals that violated their religious beliefs or go hungry during their shifts.

The employees of Gate Gourmet, which prepares food for passengers on flights, have said they’re not allowed to bring food from home or leave for lunch breaks because of security concerns.

The company provided them meals, but they have complained that the ingredients weren’t labeled -- and sometimes “vegetarian” items such as refried beans included pork lard and meatballs thought to be turkey were actually made of beef and pork. Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Ethiopian Orthodox Christian workers were among those who reportedly had a problem with the food.

The high court’s decision to allow the lawsuit to go forward adds to the responsibility of private employers to accommodate workers’ religious beliefs.

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