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Albuquerque hotel, EEOC settle religious bias case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- A federal civil rights agency and an Albuquerque hotel have settled the agency's religious discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of a housekeeper who was fired when she refused to not wear her head scarf.

The settlement between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the owners of the MCM Elegante Hotel received court approval from a federal judge last week.

The agreement means Safia Abdullah will receive $100,000 in back pay and compensatory damages.

The EEOC says the firing violated federal civil rights law that prohibits firing or refusing to hire people because of their religion or religious practices.

The hotel owners denied the allegations in the EEOC's lawsuit and said in court papers they settled the case to avoid the risks and expenses of continued litigation.