Gina Gomez, a devout Roman Catholic, worked for Sam’s Department Stores, Inc., in Phoenix, Arizona. Sam’s considered Gomez a productive employee because her sales exceeded $200,000 per year. At the time, the store gave its managers the discretion to grant unpaid leave to employees but prohibited vacations or leave during the holiday season—October through December. Gomez felt that she had a ‘calling’ to go on a pilgrimage in October to a location in Bosnia where some people claimed to have had visions of the Virgin Mary. The Catholic Church had not designated the site an official pilgrimage site, the visions were not expected to be stronger in October, and tours were available at other times. The store managers denied Gomez’s request for leave, but she had a nonrefundable ticket and left anyway. Sam terminated her employment, and she could not find another job.
Can Gomez establish a prima facie case of religious discrimination? Explain.