A U.S. federal judge has ruled that a Seventh-day Adventist employee was fired in apparent retaliation for his refusal to work on Sabbath and awarded him more than $150,000 in back pay.
Sean Mohammed lost his job as assistant manager at Mini Price Storage, a chain of self-storage businesses based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2011 after a run-in with a new supervisor over Sabbath work, The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reported Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson ordered Mini Price Storage to pay $150,730 in back wages, as well as lawyers’ fees and court expenses.
“This is vindication,” Mohammed’s lawyer Ari Wilkenfeld told the newspaper.
Wilkenfeld said his client had struggled to secure work after his dismissal and now was in debt.
“The results are very gratifying,” he said, adding that Mohammed had wept when they discussed the court’s decision. “This is life changing for him.”
A lawyer for Mini Price Storage denied that Mohammed’s dismissal had been retaliatory and said the company would file an appeal.