Prima Facie

Mary Tiano, a devout Roman Catholic, worked for Dillard Department Stores, Inc., in Phoenix, Arizona. Dillard’s considered Tiano a productive employee because her sales exceeded $200,000 a year. At the time, the store gave its managers the discretion to grant unpaid leave to employees but prohibited vacations or leave during the holiday seaseon – October through December. Tiano felt that she had a “calling” to go on a “pilgrimage” in October 1988 to Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, where some person claimed to have had visions of the Virgin Mary. The Catholic Church had not designated the site an official pilgrimage site, the visions were not expected to be stonger in October, and tours were available at other times. The store managers denied Tiano’s request for leave, but she had a nonrefundable ticket and left anyway. Dillard’s terminated her employment. For a year, Tiano searched for a new job and did not attain the level of her Dillard’s salary for four years. She filed a suit in federal district court against Dillard’s, alleging relilgious discrimination in violation of Title VII. Can Tiano establish a prima facie case of religious discrimintion? Explain.

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