Fla. McDonald’s sued for denying employment to Hasidic Jew because of his beard

Orlando, Fla., Jul 20, 2019 / 06:01 am (CNA).- An Orlando-area McDonald’s is being sued for denying employment to a man on account of his beard.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the lawsuit on the man’s behalf, said in their lawsuit that the McDonald’s manager told the man that “he could not hire him because doing so would violate McDonald’s policies and the law,” News 6 in Orlando reported.

According to the lawsuit, the man told the restaurant that he was a Hasidic Jew and that his religious beliefs prevented him from shaving his beard, but that he offered to wear a beard net instead. He was applying for the position of a maintenance worker at the restaurant in September 2016.

His employment was still denied. The EEOC filed a lawsuit with the Orlando McDonald’s July 17, three years after the incident. The man is asking for three years worth of back pay for the job in damages, News 6 reported.

Hasidic Judaism is an orthodox movement within Judaism in which men do not shave their beards, per instructions in the Torah. In the lawsuit, the EEOC argues that McDonald’s violated the man’s rights by declining his employment due to his religious beliefs.

In an interview with News 6, Rabbi David Kay with Congregation Ohev Shalom in Maitland, another Orlando suburb, explained that the beard was an “expression of faith” for Hasidic Jewish men, and that he considered the lawsuit to be a teaching moment on Jewish traditions.

“Anytime we have the opportunity to expand our awareness and understanding of how faith traditions express themselves, I think that’s a plus,” Kay told News 6.

McDonald’s had not responded to News 6 requests for comment by press time. It is unclear why this lawsuit is being filed now instead of immediately after the incident occurred.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


  1. Is this lawsuit about the job, or about the money? Three years back wages? For what? I am not so sure that a “beard net” sounds that appetizing. Some of these rules are in place to keep the food sanitary. How reliable is the net? Is this guy working yet? And why didnt he apply for jobs outside the food industry so the beard would not be an issue? Like at Walmart or as a bank teller?? There are too many people who think the world has to adapt to THEM.

  2. I have not set foot in a McDonald’s since the Covid pandemic began, and the Southwest Salad with balsamic vinegar dressing was removed from the menu (along with all the other salads: not an example of an anti-Southwest cuisine agenda), but If I recall correctly, the “crew” at McDonald’s does not routinely wear hair nets.

    Is there any scientific evidence that beard hairs, which the plaintiff offered to attempt to control with a beard net, are statistically more likely to fall out during food preparation than hairs from the head? The beard hairs would be more noticeable, which I would consider to be an advantage, being on a beard hair free diet.

    For some reason, I have access to Quora at work, and came across this:

    How does McDonald’s get away with their employees never wearing hairnets and most young female employees wearing their hair in ponytails, again with no hair nets?


    Corrie Saeger, former General Manager at Burger King (2001-2021)
    Answered August 5, 2019

    The local health department calls the shots on this one. If they require them, then establishments preparing food must wear them. But many (at least in Iowa) don’t require them.

    I am sure McDonald’s has corporate image standards, but would be surprised if hairnets were one of them.

    Those little black disposable hairnets are more likely to wind up in your food then some strand of hair from a pony tail. What’s even more likely, is that a pet hair comes off your shirt and into your food. I know I’ve found my dog’s hair in my food when I was eating out.

    I should brush her more often.

  3. This sounds like fishing for a lawsuit. McDonald’s is not Kosher. Why would an ultra-orthodox/Hasidic Jew seek work there?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.