Jewish man sues Frito-Lay for making him deliver Krismas trees.

This news item prompted a couple of questions with me:

SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—A West Valley City truck driver is suing Frito-Lay Inc. because he says the company retaliated against him after he requested not to deliver Christmas trees, saying it made him feel uncomfortable because of his Jewish faith.

Richard Cleaveland is seeking damages of at least $100,000.

Cleaveland says he complained in December 2004 and was denied his religious accommodation request.

The complaint contends that since making his request, Cleaveland has been subject to insults, jokes and been forced to observe other Christian traditions. It also says he’s been given worse shifts, been denied jobs he’d gotten in the past and had difficulty securing wages.

A spokeswoman for Frito-Lay could not immediately be reached for comment.

The first questions I have are: When did Frito-Lay start delivering Krismas trees? Do they pack them into the extra space between boxes of delicious potato and corn chips? Do the trees come in different flavors?

Other than that this seems like a pretty cut and dried situation. Denying the man’s request not to deliver Krismas trees is probably within the company’s rights (if you don’t like the job, go find a different one), but the harassment that took place after the man filed his request is stepping over the line and probably gives him a lawsuit where he didn’t have one previously.

[Updated to correct type in the title]

15 thoughts on “Jewish man sues Frito-Lay for making him deliver Krismas trees.

  1. Is he talking about the snack cakes??  I thought they were Little Debbie (not owned by Frito-Lay)??

    Am I missing something?

    And yes, the harassment was wrong…but I feel there is more to this story…

  2. Little Debbie is owned by McKee Foods so I doubt it’s the snack cakes, though that thought hadn’t occurred to me. I don’t know if Frito-Lay has a company that makes snack cakes or not.

    The Salt Lake Tribune has more on the story and it appears it was literally pine trees:

    Richard Cleaveland, an employee of Frito-Lay for about 10 years, voiced his discomfort in December 2004 and was denied his religious accommodation request, according to the lawsuit. How hauling pine trees might be an affront to faith is less important than the retaliation that followed, said Cleaveland’s Salt Lake City attorney, P. Corper James.

      The complaint alleges that since making his request, Cleaveland has been subjected to insults and jokes and “forced to observe other Christmas traditions.” It says he’s been slapped with worse shifts, faced disciplinary notice he’d never received before, denied jobs he’d gotten in the past and has faced difficulty in securing wages.

      All of this has amounted to “a hostile work environment,” one that’s reportedly harmed Cleaveland both emotionally and financially. The suit seeks damages of no less than $100,000.

      James pointed to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to explain why this case matters.

      “An employee can make a religious accommodation request,” the attorney said, “and that employee is protected from any retaliatory conduct as a result of the request.”

    So it seems it really is about the harassment after the request.

  3. What was his objection to a now defunct North European religeon?

    There is a Muslim in the UK suing a major supermarket (Tesco I think) because he had to move boxed of alcohol- not drink it, just move the boxes the bottles were in around the warehouse. Given how many local off-licences are owned by Muslims I wonder if an Imam needs to clarify things somewhere.

  4. Oooo…ok.  REAL trees.  Didn’t he know they were “HOLIDAY TREES” and not CHRISTMAS TREES.  Thanks for clearing that up.  Just was too lazy to look for more information on it myself.  😀

    Anyway, what Frito-Lay doing with trees?

    And again, it is wrong if he was harassed afterward.  Probably some harmless joking around about being offended by trees that went bad and some jackass had to make himself feel manly by harassing the poor Jewish employee.

    *eye roll*

    In that case I hope he gets something out of it.  Harassment is illegal.

  5. What the fuck?  xmas trees sort of suck because they are messy and hard to carry, but they smell nice.  It’s not like he was having to haul used kitty kitter.  Does this mean that he thinks that Christian truck drivers should bitch about having to haul matzo’s and dreidels?

    I am still trying to figure out how a snack food truck driver would end up hauling xmas trees.

  6. See the full story of the Xmas Tree here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_tree
    It is noteworthy that the origin was probably :

    Patron trees (for example, the Irminsul, Thor’s Oak and the figurative Yggdrasil) held special significance for the ancient Germanic tribes, appearing throughout historic accounts as sacred symbols and objects. According to Adam of Bremen, in Scandinavia the Germanic pagan kings sacrificed nine males (the number nine is a significant number in Norse mythology) of each species at the sacred groves every ninth year.[1]

    Tradition credits Saint Boniface with the invention of the Christmas tree. The Oak of Thor at Geismar was chopped down by Boniface in a stage-managed confrontation with the old gods and local heathen tribes. A fir tree growing in the roots of the Oak was claimed by Boniface as a new symbol. “This humble tree’s wood is used to build your homes: let Christ be at the centre of your households. Its leaves remain evergreen in the darkest days: let Christ be your constant light. Its boughs reach out to embrace and its top points to heaven: let Christ be your Comfort and Guide.”[2][3]

    So, was he complaining about the pagan tree or the Xmas tree? Decisions, decisions.  cheese

  7. He’s complaining because he’s Jewish and doesn’t have the background in religious history to realize that “Christ”mas trees don’t actually have much of anything to do with Christ or Christians. The fact that they are Pagan in origin would probably still be offensive to him though, so knowing their true origin probably wouldn’t change his original complaint.

  8. OK I can agree on the harassment deal after the fact. I work as an electrician in the 90s in Oregon and did perform work on a regular basis in a jewish retirement home. I love the Christmas season and wore a scraf and during December has it clapst with a santa. I always had to take it off prior to going into the building and on the times i had forgot was promptly asked to take it off

  9. It was holiday-shaped pretzels. Some are shaped like bells and some like pine trees. Now don’t you feel dumb?

  10. I assumed as much — I was just trying to be facetious — but now that you’ve pointed it out it makes the man’s complaint even more idiotic than if it had actually been literal trees.

  11. its funny that jews always are allowed to publicly annonces the hate towards christmass and jesus tradition but do not talk about the talmud and torah wish is more satanic than any other thing on this earth this is stupid this guy need to be fired from lays

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