Grocery clerk wouldn’t handle pork products, sues

A lawsuit claims Costco did not do enough to accommodate the religious scruples of Brooklyn, N.Y. grocery clerk Jean Camara. He says managers sent him outside to work with shopping carts after he refused to handle pork or alcohol on checkout lines, and ignored his request for a transfer to the electronics department [WABC]


  • It sounds like Costco accommodated his need..just not in the way he wanted. Sounds like he was gunning for a job in electronics, and they assigned him to cart-wrangling. As long as the pay and benefits are the same, I’m not sure how Costco can be accused of discrimination. Certainly not of a human rights violation. That’s an insult to people who actually have had their human rights violated.

  • Seems a shame that the sensitive Mr. Camera must suffer the indignity of standing on the same earth on which pigs and alcohol co-exist.

  • That story leaves out a lot of relevant details from the complaint. He alleges that people assigned to cart duty typically have a number of assignments, many of which are indoors and that the employees are allowed to go inside for breaks and to use the restroom. He, on the other hand, was not allowed inside for any reason at all during his shifts, even in adverse weather. That certainly sounds like an unreasonable accommodation and retaliation for requesting accommodation.

    The plaintiff complained to management and eventually filed a discrimination complaint. A couple weeks later, it was particularly cold out and the plaintiff asked to be allowed inside for a moment to warm his hands. After the manager denied the request, the plaintiff said, “Costco doesn’t give a crap about me.” He was then told to clock out and eventually fired for insubordination for making that statement. His firing seems pretextual and retaliatory.

    I don’t know if it happened the way he alleges, but there’s a lot more here than the story suggests. The judge agreed apparently and has let the primary claims go to trial after summary judgment.

  • This lawsuit,if upheld,crosses the line into “establishment of religion”– using government authority to impose plaintiff’s religion on an employer and customers who do not share it. If plaintiff is not willing to provide courteous service to customers of differing religions,he should not be seeking general retail work.

  • When I was living in Malaysia I sometimes bought pork products or alcohol at the local supermarket. Muslim cashiers managed the situation by putting their hand inside a plastic bag as a sort of glove in order to ring up my products. The cashiers were satisfied with this method, and certainly the religious police were also. An easy solution for Costco would be to emulate what takes place in a predominantly Muslim country and provide Camara with latex or nitrile gloves so he could do the same. If Camara objected, then his true motives would be visible.

  • Costco moved him to cart duty for two reasons:

    1. Cashiers and cart wranglers are in the same department and therefore the same labor budget.
    2. Transfer to a different department is usually considered a promotion (at least by Costco), which they are not required to give him.